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16th February 1998
Minutes of Meeting of the Cultural Committee held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Derry Road, Strabane on Monday 16 February 1998 at 8.00 pm
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor I Murtagh Other Members:- Councillors Mrs A Bell, I Barr, D A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McHugh, E McMenamin, E Mullen, J O'Kane Total = 13
In Attendance:- Chief Administrative Officer, Community Services Officer,
It was noted that the Minutes of the Meeting of the Cultural Committee held on 19 January 1998 had already been adopted by Council.
Pages 1 & 2 - 9th Colmcille Winter School
The Community Services Officer informed Members that a Community Relations Officer would be attending the above conference to be held in Gartan, Letterkenny. The Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Murtagh, indicated that he was unable to attend. Councillor Emery advised that he would be attending on the Saturday and had notified the Chief Executive's Office accordingly.
Get Well Message
In response to a query by the Chairman, the Community Services Officer indicated that her son had recovered from his recent stay in hospital. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, that get well wishes be extended to him.
Pages 2 & 3 - 1798 Commemorations
Councillor Barr asked for an update on this item and the Community Services Officer indicated that this would be raised later in the meeting.
Integration of Arts and Cultural Committee
Members proceeded to consider Proposed Framework Document for Arts Development, copy of which was previously circulated.
Councillor Barr proposed that the Committee be named "Cultural and Arts Committee" in recognition of the Cultural Committee taking on the role of arts provision. He was of the opinion that this would allay any fears that the Cultural Committee would be submerged by the arts. Councillor McHugh pointed out that Cultural Committee was a full Committee of the Council. He enquired the intention of the estimated figures for 1997/98 to reflect the proposed levels of expenditure which listed arts development - £20,000, Grant aid programme - £3,800 and Christmas Fair - £3,000. He pointed out that the Cultural Committee was to have had a contribution of £10,000 and not £7,500 as listed. Additionally he sought clarification on how future arts spend would be approved. Councillor Hussey indicated that he had similar concerns and queried if the funding could be ring fenced within the various headings.
The Community Services Officer advised Members that it was the general understanding that within the structure of the new Committee any decision making on arts projects would be carried out by the Committee after the relevant information had been circulated to Members in advance. She stressed that it was imperative that the Committee was more strategic in order to promote the arts given the increasing costs of performances and that it was intended that the arts development programme would establish an appropriate infrastructure to incorporate both town and rural based events.
In response to a query by Councillor Hussey regarding the Arts Incentive Programme, the Community Services Officer explained that from April onwards the match funding scheme would no longer operate. However, the advent of revenue funding through the lottery scheme - Access - would provide the potential for securing additional resources. Councillor Hussey queried whether a grant aid policy would be put in place.
With regard to application for revenue support it was noted that the Arts Committee had previously not dealt with those because of limited resources. Traditionally, however, the Council had made quite substantial monies available to the two major drama festivals. If the Council were to propose that such an approach be considered, detailed discussion on how this would subsequently be administered would be required.
Councillor Hussey sought clarification on other schemes and queried if it would be possible for the Committee to have some indication how those operated. The Community Services Officer undertook to follow this up.
Councillor McHugh enquired how the Arts budget had been spent the previous year. The Community Services Officer indicated that at the last meeting there was an agreement that the Treasurer would oversee the implementation of the arts programme until the end of March. She pointed out that there had been a substantial number of arts requests dealt with through the Community Relations programme, which Members would be aware of through the Chief Recreation Officer's monthly report and that the associated costs had been reimbursed by the Arts Committee budget.
Councillor McHugh enquired the role of Council Officers once the Committee had been formed and whether cultural festivals etc. would be promoted. He reiterated his fears that the cultural elements would be swamped by the arts elements. He requested that more emphasis be placed on the cultural elements as in his opinion too much emphasis had been placed on arts development, as demonstrated in the Framework document. The Community Services Officer advised that the definition of arts included the traditional arts and that if the Committee wished to adopt a more pro-active role this could be taken on board.
The Chairman of the Committee reassured Members that he would foresee the cultural and arts elements having an integrated approach with the Council's role of facilitator as an addition to the existing role of the Cultural Committee.
In response to a query by Councillor McHugh, the Community Services Officer indicated that the membership of the Forum could be extended to include cultural groups as well as arts groups. It was suggested that the naming of the Forum take into account the words Cultural and District.
Councillor Hussey reiterated his view that he had some difficulty in separating cultural elements from the arts.
It was unanimously agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O'Kane, seconded by the Chairman of the Council, that the Committee be named "Strabane and District Cultural and Arts Committee" and that it be a full Committee of Council.
It was further agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by the Chairman of the Council, that the new Committee adopt the proposed framework for arts development.
Councillor Hussey commented that the Cultural Committee had a constitution and a grant aid policy. In view of the new structure, additional elements would need to be taken into account.
Councillor Hussey proposed that the Community Services Officer examine the framework document and bring back to the Committee a newly drawn up constitution and grant aid policy structure. This was agreed.
Councillor McHugh pointed out that the original motion which had set up the Cultural Committee had been amended but obviously there would have to be an addition. This was accepted. He enquired about the budget element given that it had been agreed by Council that the sum of £10,000 would be allocated to this budget.
It was unanimously agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the proposed expenditure for 1997/98 be as follows:-
Arts development - £17,500; Grant aid programme - £3,800; Christmas Fair - £3,000; Cultural - £10,000.
The Community Services Officer advised that the balance of the current year's budget was £3,384.76.
Grant Aid Applications
Sawel Womens Group
Members proceeded to consider request for grant aid received from Sawel Womens Group towards the provision of an educational outing. The Community Services Officer advised that this application had been withdrawn and the group had indicated that it would be re-submitting another application for a different form of funding.
Strabane Feis Committee
Members considered a request for grant aid received from Strabane Feis Committee towards the provision of programmes and the printing of same for the Feis and for medals and certificates. In response to a query by Councillor O'Kane, the Community Services Officer advised that she was not aware of any particular support having been given to this group in the past. Councillor Emery indicated that he was not against funding being granted, however, he would prefer clarification on the private finance element. The Chairman of the Committee reiterated his view that he would be against deficit funding.
Councillor O'Kane proposed, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that the Committee contribute the sum of £300. Voting took place with eight Members in favour, none against and five abstentions.
Guidance Notes - Applications for Grant Aid
It was agreed, on the suggestion of Councillor McBride, that guidance notes be prepared for distribution with grant aid application forms in the future so as to ensure that the appropriate details were provided for the Committee to consider.
Members considered a letter dated 15 January 1998 received from the Ulster Society advising that it was contemplating the production of a booklet on the Coat of Arms/Heraldic Symbols of the 26 District Councils. The Council was also being requested to consider providing its Coat of Arms/heraldic symbol and an explanation of the symbolism for inclusion in its booklet.
Lengthy discussion ensued during which some Members were of the opinion that this would open the floodgates for other similar type requests. Councillor Barr commented that he understood Logan Stewart had in the past requested the use of the Coat of Arms on tankards etc. for commercial purposes. In response to a query by Councillor Barr, the Chief Administrative Officer pointed out that the Irish translation would be included in the event that Council agreed to the Ulster Society's request as this was now part of the Crest. The Chairman of the Council voiced his support for the use of the Coat of Arms for commercial purposes in the event that it was legal to do so. Councillors Hussey and Emery and Murtagh concurred with the Chairman's view. Councillor Hussey also commented that he would support the Chairman in encouraging any local business interest promoting the area in this way.
Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by the Chairman of the Council, that the Ulster Society be given permission to include the current Council Coat of Arms and its explanation in the booklet and that the Council be provided with a draft proof prior to its publication.
The Chairman of the Council further proposed that the Council check out the legal implications for Council allowing its Coat of Arms to be incorporated on craft items etc. for commercial sale and that copyright be investigated. The Chief Administrative Officer undertook to check this matter out and report back.
Councillor McBride requested a copy of the card which accompanied the Coat of Arms and it was agreed that he be provided with a copy of same.
The Chief Administrative Officer advised that Omagh District Council had agreed to allow its Crest to be used in the publication subject to all the other Councils providing their Crests. Councillor O'Kane proposed that Strabane District Council should only allow its Crest to be used if all other Councils were doing so and this was agreed. Voting took place on this proposal and it was carried with twelve Members in favour and one abstention.
The Community Services Officer circulated literature to Members on the above which included extracts from Johnny Dooher's article "Strabane and the North West in the Decade of Rebellion" and a historical synopsis of 1798. She explained that a copy of the Ulster Local Studies publication was available for any interested Member. It was agreed that a copy of the full article be circulated to Members for their attention.
It was being suggested that the following events could take place:-
1. "Henry Joy McCracken" by Centre Stage - 24 March 1998 - £1,250 (75% grant
aided by CCRU)
2. Strabane Historical Society Lecture "The Rev James Porter" by John Gray of
the Linen Hall Library - 26 March 1998 - No cost
3. Ulster Museum Outreach Programme - Jane Leonard and Trevor Parkhill
to deliver lectures as a beginning of a programme which would culminate
in a visit to the museum - Cost element dependent on number of buses required.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that the Council support items one and two and await a costing report on item three at a future meeting. Voting took place and it was carried with eight Members in favour, three against and two abstentions.
The Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Murtagh, commented that a programme on 1798 would be broadcast on Wednesday night.
Councillor McBride reiterated his suggestion that a monthly update be provided for Committee Members. This was agreed.
The meeting closed at 9.20 pm.