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Bailed-out MAC needs a further £300,000 of public money before end of March

There are fears that the MAC may close is funding is not found

A WARNING that "more cuts to the arts is on the way" was issued last night following the revelation that the MAC in Belfast needed emergency funding to keep its doors open.

Conor Shields, chief executive of the Community Arts Partnership, said he has written to the Department for Communities on behalf of the arts sector's campaigning organisation Arts Matter NI to express their concerns about future funding for arts in Northern Ireland.

"We are very anxious to point out to you that funding for the arts has seen a major decline in revenue funds available, meaning in-year cuts for our larger 104 arts organisations and a perilous position for the sector," he said.

He added that the lack of funding could have a "further adverse impact undermining the sector's viability and the tremendous strides made by Northern Ireland's festivals, venues, community arts organisations, theatre, dance, visual arts, music and literary companies representing a host of further art forms".

It comes after it emerged yesterday that Belfast City Council provided the MAC with £40,000 funding in October to allow the centre to remain open.

It also needs a further £300,000 of public money before the end of March, but with the absence of a Stormont minister, the Department of Communities has been unable to approve funding requests from the MAC.

DUP councillor Graham Craig said he fears for the future of the venue if extra funding is not found.

"All the parties that are involved in this have to come to the table and provide the finances necessary," he told the BBC.

"Without that, there is a danger that the MAC will not be able to continue trading."

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