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Department right to cut arts funding by £300k

It is interesting to see how some people in the arts world regard it as a right that taxpayers fund their rather esoteric activities.

Your report (News, February 14) gave the views of playwright Martin Lynch on a £300,000 cut in Laganside Events funding from the Department for Social Development.

It's not often I have any praise for the Department for Social Development, or for its minister, Nelson McCausland. However, they should be applauded for this small step.

Martin Lynch is quoted as saying: "This is a regressive decision to save a tiny amount of money"

To regard £300,000 as tiny, Mr Lynch must be used to very large sums indeed. He went on to say that "the organisations that operate are already on small budgets and the overall budget for the arts is tiny."

According to the report, it is festival events in the Cathedral Quarter, such as the Open House Festival, the Festival of Fools and the Out to Lunch festival, that will suffer.

Does Mr Lynch seriously consider that the hard-earned taxes of people should be raided to fund such events?

None of these events requires serious funding and most would get by with a few homemade props and a couple of dressing-up boxes. If funding is required, what is wrong with charging a realistic ticket price, or seeking the sponsorship of corporate donors?

Mr Lynch also was quoted as saying, "the Cathedral Quarter is an arts quarter. It has to have arts product."

If he thinks that to be the case, why doesn't he and like-minded people seek to raise the funding for arts events by normal commercial application?

ALAN LOVE

Lisburn, Co Antrim

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