Belfast City Council last night voted to throw its weight behind a campaign seeking to reverse cuts in Arts Funding announced last month by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland.

It passed a motion stating that “This council asserts the value of the arts in our everyday lives, including our wellbeing, education, inclusion as well as our creative and evening economy and our tourism offering. Accordingly, the council extends its formal support to the Arts Matter NI campaign for equal funding and agrees that an all-party delegation meet the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities to demand more funds for the arts.”

The cut in funding for 2018/19 amounts to 4.7 percent and will mean seven bodies losing all funding and a reduction for 43 more that have previously benefitted.

In a peculiarly Irish twist the Deputy Lord Mayor Emmet McDonough-Brown from the Alliance Party is the son of Arts Council NI Chief Executive Roisín McDonough.

The Grand Opera House is one of the organisations worst hit with a loss in annual funding of £110,000.

The Arts Council described the cut in funding as being part of a wider-ranging context of reducing public funding across all areas of Government.