Arts and media announcements in today's Budget included €130 million for the Arts Council, a €6 million "night time economy" fund and the reduction of VAT on newspapers to zero per cent.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, said she wanted sectors under her department to "continue to recover and grow".

She said the funding will ensure that arts, artists, the audio visual industry and national cultural institutions are sustained.

The special exemption fee required to host late night events has been halved from €110 to €55, while the night time economy fund aims to support performances, encourage people to attend late night events, provide sound proofing grants and support "night time advisers" who will lead reform in this sector.

€7.5m has been allocated for the new Coimisiún na Meán and €6m has been allocated to a new media grant fund supporting coverage of local authorities and court reporting.

Minister Martin also said that €15m will be made available for public service broadcasting, to address the Future of Media Commission's recommendation to provide interim funding to RTÉ.

Budget 2023 also provides for €7.3m funding for TG4.

In a statement, RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes welcomed that the Government was following through on its commitment to begin implementing the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission.

She said RTÉ looked forward to engaging in the coming weeks with the Department on proposals to reform the TV licence system, which are due to be considered by Government in November.

The Arts Council welcomed today's funding, saying it will allow the council to continue to help the arts sector recover from Covid-19 and deal with significant cost of living increases.

Chair of the Arts Council Professor Kevin Rafter said funding will enable the council to continue and deepen its investment in the arts.

He also said the Arts Council will continue to make the case for an annual budget of €150 million to further develop the arts sector across the country.

Exemption fee required to host late night events has been halved

Director of the Council Maureen Kennelly said it will continue to work closely with the department and the minister, as it seeks to place the arts at the heart of Irish life.

Screen Producers Ireland and Screen Ireland both welcomed the extension of the film industry tax incentive - Section 481 - until 2028.

Screen Ireland said the scheme is essential to the further growth of the industry, and creates jobs, helps skill developments and enables money to be spent in the Irish economy.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the reduction of VAT on newspapers will take place from 1 January next year, and said this is in line with the Government's commitment to support an independent press and the Future of Media Commission's recommendation on this matter.

He said the Government is aware of the critical role that newspapers play in society, "from reporting on local communities to holding those in power to account".

The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) welcomed today's measures, in particular funding for Culture Ireland - which it said will address increased costs of touring abroad.

Chair of the NCFA Angela Dorgan said capital funding for climate adaptation, provision of work spaces for artists, night-time economy measures alongside the general supports announced for individuals, families and small businesses are essential to ensure the sector survives the challenges of the cost of living crisis.

However, while the NCFA celebrates the continued investment of €130 million in the Arts Council, she said it was frustrating that the figure has not increased in line with other spending measures.

Ms Dorgan also said the NCFA is pleased with a commitment from Minister Martin to continue to work with the Department of Social Protection to remove systemic barriers which prevent artists with disabilities and arts' workers from equal participation in the arts.

VAT on print and digital newspapers is to be abolished

NewsBrands Ireland, which represents Ireland's national news publishers, welcomed the announcement that VAT on print and digital newspapers is to be abolished, saying the move is good for journalism and a recognition of its critical role in a healthy democracy.

Chairman of Newsbrands Ireland and COO of the Business Post Group Colm O'Reilly said research shows that 82% of Irish people read a print or digital newspaper every week.

The VAT reduction will provide the sector with the financial leverage to continue to invest in the transition to digital and ensure citizens have continued access to fact-checked, trusted journalism, he added.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin said that based on the department's estimates for 2023, Budget 2023 amounts to a €19 million cut to the arts budget.

Sinn Féin Arts and Culture spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said: "The figures are deeply worrying. The figure for arts and culture funding has dropped from €371 million in 2022 to €352 million next year.

"This comes despite claims that the budget will 'enhance' and 'expand' supports within the sector, which begs the question: who will lose out to make up for these cuts?

"Sadly, no clarity or detail was provided in either the Budget speeches or documents published yesterday, or in the glossy press releases and videos released by the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media today.

"At a time when artists and arts workers face venue closures and the cost of living crisis, many of them after getting the bad news that their basic income application was unsuccessful, it would be totally unjustifiable to cut the funding upon which they rely by €19 million."