Arts Minister Carál Ní Chuilín says she doesn’t have the money to continue funding a musical instruments for bands programme at present due to a shortfall in her department’s budget.
The Minister said: “The budget shortfall means that I am unable to endorse funding at the present time.
“I intend to bid for additional funds for this valuable scheme in June monitoring. However, as we are not in a position to presently confirm funding, the Arts Council are unable to open the scheme in April as normal.
“I understand that this uncertainty will not be welcome among the bands sector. Over half a million pounds has been awarded under this scheme in the past three years. I remain committed to supporting Musical Instruments for Bands and will work to secure further funding as it becomes available.
“Following the reduction of the block grant, there has been considerable effort to minimise the impact of funding cuts on arts and culture.
“That work will continue, and I hope it will be feasible to run this programme again in the future.”