An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with the Mayor of Fingal, Mary McCamley, and the chief executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid, at the launch of the Creative Ireland Fingal Programme in Swords Castle. Picture: Conor Healy Photography

CULTURE is a “vital defence” against untruth and should be embraced by one and all, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told an enraptured audience in Swords on Monday.
The country’s youngest ever leader went back to his county council roots to launch the Creative Ireland Fingal Programme – and there wasn’t a novelty sock in sight.
Mr Varadkar joined Mayor Cllr Mary McCamley (Lab) at a colourful event hosted in Swords Castle to reveal details of the county’s culture and creativity initiative.
He said: “We are building on so much that has been done in previous years, a rich heritage of creativity and cultural expression that holds its own on the world stage.
“I would like to congratulate the Fingal culture team on this plan. They have put together a broad and interesting programme.”
A smiling Mr Varadkar showed no sign of stress despite having come from a tense backroom meeting with senior party figures where his slump in popularity was reportedly discussed.
He was presented with a piece of work designed by Castleknock artist Michele Hannan.
Having posed for a selfie with The Pixies frontman Black Francis in Trinity College the previous evening, he seemed delighted with the performances from Indian Family Club, rising Balbriggan R&B singer Soule and rapper Flynn Johnson.
Mayor McCamley said she hoped people would embrace the programme with the same level of enthusiasm as they did the 1916 Centenary celebrations.
She added: “We hope to harness creativity, which we know thrives within our communities, using it to make Fingal an even better place to live, work, visit and do business in.”
Council chief executive Paul Reid agreed that Fingal’s greatest resource is its people and he said the new civic and cultural quarter in Swords would be “a centre of excellence for the arts”.
The initiative is the forerunner to the council’s five-year culture and creativity strategy to 2022, and Mr Varadkar said he looked forward to seeing it unfold.
He also admitted that one of the groups that most caught his eye, mainly because of its name, was the Artful Dodgers – “a superb early years music and visual arts programme”.
He added: “The world is a much healthier place when we open our minds to imagination and wonder.”
Further information on the culture fund and creativity plan can be obtained by emailing creativefingal@fingal.ie or by calling 01 890 5097.

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