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More supports need to be made available to the Arts Industry - Matthews

Date: 24/04/2020

Green Party spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Steven Matthews TD, has called for increased supports for the arts sector for people who have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Following an announcement from the Minister for Culture in relation to supports for the arts, Deputy Matthews said, "Any measures that can assist the arts sector at this time have to be welcomed but they don’t go far enough. Actors, musicians and artists have all lost work as a direct result of this crisis. Nobody is suggesting that productions or concerts should go ahead at this time but there should be support there for people who had contracts in place which now cannot be fulfilled.

“I raised this matter last week with the Minister for Finance in the Dáil and was disappointed that there was no movement from the Government on this issue. This is something that will become increasingly relevant throughout the summer in the likely event that festivals, film production and stage performances are not in a position to go ahead for public health reasons. I believe that there needs to be some form of support put in place even if it isn’t the existing pandemic payment model.

“The unfortunate reality is that concerts, exhibitions and film productions are unlikely going to be able to be go ahead, at least, the end of the year, so this isn’t a problem that is going away and will only worsen as the full impact of this crisis is realised. This country is renowned worldwide for its artistic endeavours and we must support our home grown industry to get through this period”.

Deputy Malcolm Noonan, TD for the Carlow/ Kilkenny constituency echoed the views of his colleague and said that the calls of the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) for a broader strategic and long term commitment to culture and the arts in Ireland need to be considered.

Deputy Noonan said, "Even before Covid, culture and the arts in Ireland were in deep turmoil; many makers, practitioners and professional arts administrators were leaving the sector due to funding uncertainty. The current Government committed to doubling arts funding over it's lifetime but that has not transpired and yet we are trading our international reputation on our culture. The arts community is seeking short term supports to secure livelihoods of practitioners and we have seen how the arts is getting us all through this crisis. Now it's time to adequately reward our creative community for the work they produce and to value it as a core societal value".

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