26th November 2020 | Green Gazette

Oireachtas briefing: Green Ministers announce funding for LGBTI+ community projects, the music industry and organic farming

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The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, this week announced that €700,000 will be made available to 29 LGBTI+ community projects and visibility and inclusion projects nationwide.

Announcing the outcome of the 2020 LGBTI+ Communities Integration Fund, Minister O’Gorman said:

“The LGBTI+ Communities Integration Fund provides for initiatives that will promote inclusion, protect rights and improve quality of life and wellbeing for members of the LGBTI+ community, enabling them to participate fully in Ireland’s social, economic, cultural, and political life.”

“Services and initiatives that work to promote inclusion and visibility for the LGBTI+ community have an increased importance at a time when many LGBTI+ people may feel disconnected from their community. I am confident that these projects will be successful in ensuring members continue to feel supported into 2021.”

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has announced funding decisions to support recording by artists under the Music Industry Stimulus Package.

184 musicians/bands are being awarded a total of €896,000 to assist them to record singles, EPs and albums. This support covers a wide range of music genres including rock, indie, jazz, trad, folk, country, classical and electronic. There were over 1,400 applications for recording support, which reflects the high demand for support as well as being an indication of the vibrancy of the music sector in Ireland. The total funding for the 2020 Music Industry Stimulus Package of €1.7 million is covering support for 79 song writing camps and 56 new album releases as well as the 184 recording awards announced.

“These awards will enable artists to record their work in a year which has been very challenging for performers,” Minister Martin said. “The availability of music through recordings has become more important than ever and this support will enable listeners, nationally and internationally, to enjoy some of our finest musicians’ new work.”

The Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, announced the commencement of the 2020 advance payments under the Organic Farming Scheme, with €5.5 million due to arrive in the bank accounts of some 1,200 organic farmers this week.

 “I am delighted to confirm that advance payments to some 1,200 Organic farmers under our Organic Farming Scheme have now commenced, two weeks ahead of schedule and earlier than last year,” Minister Hackett said.

“The Organic Farming Scheme has been a huge success in terms of achieving its targets and has resulted in an increase of nearly 50% on the hectarage under organic production since the start of the scheme in 2014.”

“I’m very ambitious for the Irish organic sector and intend to drive implementation of the current National Organics Strategy. The additional €4 million provided in the budget allows us to re-open a new Organic Farming Scheme in 2021 to new entrants, which will support 400 to 500 more farmers to go organic. The demand from consumers, and indeed farmers, toward organic production is growing at home and abroad. Organic farming also supports more nature-friendly farming practices and reduced emissions, which will also help us to meet climate and biodiversity targets. I expect to be making further announcements on the re-opening of the scheme in the near future.”

Minister Hackett also announced this week, the commencement of payments to farmers under the Burren Programme. The Burren Programme is a national and European Union co-funded scheme under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.

“I am delighted to confirm that payments for the Burren Programme are now being made in respect of the 2020 scheme year, and are the first of several batches of payments that will be made, to participating farmers, before the end of 2020. I expect that approximately €750,000 – representing 85% of the total due – will be paid to these farmers, for facilitating and developing these habitats, before the end of the year”, Minister Hackett said.