Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody lends voice to new arts strategy and calls for more investment

Snow Patrol's frontman is calling for more investment in the arts sector in Northern Ireland, as a new 10-year strategy is launched to ensure a long term vision for the industry.

Speaking to UTV, Gary Lightbody reflected on the band's beginning over 30 years ago and the struggle to 'make it' with little to no support.

The "Chasing Cars" singer says he doesn't want artists now to have the same beginning.

"Over the last five or ten years, the funding for the arts has diminished each year, and it seems to be going back backwards to a place where eventually it'll get back to that place where there is no investment at all and you have to stop the rot at some point," he said.

"You have to sort of speak up and say this is not good enough."

Gary Lightbody continued: "We lose so many artists every year in Northern Ireland... people that just can't continue because they don't have any support. And it's those artists, the ones that have no support, that need it.

"Music and art will always endure. But what I worry about is all the artists that can't endure because they're not getting support. You know, people well may think that art isn't important, but think about your life without it.

"It's just not as easy as saying 'keep going', but I do want to be a voice that encourages people to make art. I just also want to be a voice that encourages people that have the money and can distribute the money to put some towards art."

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland launched its 10-year strategy on Wednesday at the MAC theatre in Belfast.

ACNI's Karly Greene told UTV that the sector needs "probably double" the current investment.

"We know that we can work with small chunks of investment to get what we need because we totally appreciate the challenges on the public sector at the minute," she added.

Department for Communities spokesperson said: “The Minister has met with the Arts Council and he understands the important role that the people and organisations across the arts sector play, as well as the immense value they bring to so many aspects of society and the economy.

Minister Lyons has allocated additional funding to the Arts Council since taking office. He is also working to develop a new Culture, Arts and Hertiage strategy which will outline the path for the contribution the arts sector can bring over the next decade.”

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