The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) is one of 11 Northern Ireland Departments created in 1999 by the Department’s (Northern Ireland) Order 1999.
In Northern Ireland it is the Government Department responsible for arts and creativity, museums, libraries, sport, inland waterways and inland fisheries, linguistic diversity, archives, and for advising on National Lottery distribution.
The Department also draws on the expertise of the Education and Training Inspectorate.
Our Core Divisions
The work of the Department is divided into five core divisions.
Culture: - responsible for arts and creativity; inland waterways; language policy; architecture and the built environment policy
Sport, Museums and Recreation: - responsible for policies on inland fisheries libraries, museums, sport and lottery; and Northern Ireland's involvement in the 2012/13 Games Legacy.
Corporate Services: - responsible for issues relating to accounts and accountability, internal financial matters; governance support ; economic services; freedom of information; personnel issues; the day to day running of the department; media relations; Minister's Office & Permanent Secretary's Office; statistics and research.
PRONI: - The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is the official archive for Northern Ireland. It aims to identify and preserve records of historical, social and cultural importance and make them available for the information, education and enjoyment of the public.
Strategic Delivery: - responsible for strengthening the Department’s focus on promoting Equality and Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion, maximising the impact of the creative industries and developing the legacy of the City of Culture throughout the North West area. This division will work together to establish and develop relationships with key external stakeholders and social partners to maximise the impact and reach of the DCAL family.
Carál Ní Chuilín is the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure for the North of Ireland. Carál began her political career as the elected Sinn Feín representative for the Oldpark ward in North Belfast in 2003.
In addition to being a life-long political activist, Carál has a particular interest in human rights, housing, community development and the Irish language. Carál was born and bred in the New Lodge area of Belfast, where she still lives.
Our Permanent Secretary
Our Permanent Secretary is Denis McMahon pen_pic_denis_mcmahon_2-2.docx
Our Departmental Board
The work we do is organised and monitored by a Departmental Board. This is chaired by the Permanent Secretary and includes Deputy Secretary, Cynthia Smith; the Directors of Divisions: Culture*; Fergus Devitt (Director Sport, Museums and Recreation); David Carson (Director Corporate Services); Maggie Smith (Director PRONI); Aidan Cassidy (Programme Director (Transition); Joanna McConway (Capital Portfolio Manager); John West (Independent Board Member); and Marie Mallon (Independent Board Member).
*A head of branch from Culture Division represents the Division on a temporary basis due to the Director of Culture post being temporarily vacant.
The Departmental Board meets on a monthly basis to examine and take forward the Department’s strategic aims and objectives, manage Departmental resources and monitor performance objectives. It also sets the Department’s standards and values, maintains a transparent system of prudent and effective controls, assesses and manages risk and leads in organisational development.
Our Vision and Mission
The DCAL mission is "To promote social and economic equality, and to tackle poverty and social exclusion, through systematically promoting a sustainable economic model and proactively targeting meaningful resources at sectors of greatest inequality, within areas of greatest objective need, in the wider context of effectively developing tangible opportunities and measurable outcomes for securing excellence and equality across culture, arts and leisure, and a confident, creative, informed and healthy society in this part of Ireland.”
DCAL Business Plan 2015-16 (857KB) ,
Dedication - to excellence and making a difference.
Caring - about our customers, business partners, each other,our work, and the environment.
Ability – professional, knowledgeable, creative.
Leadership – which inspires.
Our Complaints Procedure
If you would like a copy in another format or language please write to Minister's Office & Permanent Secretary's Office , Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Causeway Exchange,1-7 Bedford Street,Belfast,BT2 7EG. Alternatively you can request a copy by telephone (028) 90515158 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DCAL has a staffing level of 301 staff employed in a wide range of grades and disciplines, both administrative and professional.
The Department's opening budget position for 2013/14 is £150.72 million (£116.8 million resource and £33.92 million capital). The Department has been allocated a further indicative budget of £180.64million (£106.31 million resource and £74.33million capital) for the final year of the current CSR period - 2014/15 Budget Allocations for 2013/14 – 2014/15
Our Sponsored Bodies
DCAL supports a wide range of sponsored bodies including the Armagh Observatory, the Armagh Planetarium, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Libraries NI,, National Museums Northern Ireland , the Northern Ireland Museums Council , Northern Ireland Screen, and Sport Northern Ireland . DCAL also co-sponsors (with its Irish counterparts) two North/South Implementation Bodies, Waterways Ireland and the Language Body, comprising Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency.