Martin Cullen, Minister for Arts, Tourism and Sport, has said he will not scrap the artists’ exemption as proposed by the Commission on Taxation.

The commission said the exemption was “deadweight” as those who benefited from it would have been involved in artistic activity anyway. It also concluded that it was unfair.

Mr Cullen described as “nonsense” the suggestion that the exemption costs the exchequer between €36 million and €38 million every year.

He said that figure pertained to 2006, the year before a €250,000 cap was put on the exemption, and the cost to the exchequer since has been “minuscule”.

“It is really important to point out that it is a statement by Ireland about how it treasures its artistic community and what it means for our country home and abroad. It is very important that we value this,” he told presenter Vincent Woods on yesterday’s Arts Tonight programme on RTÉ Radio 1.

Mr Cullen dismissed the McCarthy report, which recommended the abolition of his department, the Irish Film Board and Culture Ireland, as a “mathematical exercise”.


Ronan McGreevy
Irish Times