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Structure of the Arts sector pushes artists into poverty and stunts creative growth - Tóibín

7 September, 2016


Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Arts, Peadar Tóibín TD has said that reforms to the arts sector are necessary to assist those involved in this financially precarious sector.

Teachta Tóibín said:

"The stark fact is that the median wage within the sector is €10,500. This is €8,000 less than a person working on the minimum wage. On a humanitarian and common decency level this is a shocking figure. On an Arts level this effectively means that many many artists are forced to leave the profession or the country every year. This clearly significantly stunts the volume of artistic output.

"Having what amounts to a poverty salary has not happened by accident. The government has removed 40% of this sectors income over the last few years which has significantly gutted the income of many struggling artists.

"The whole sector is structured in a manner which prevents the development of decent wages. Artists are in the main prevented from collective bargaining by current legislation. Unlike the vast majority of other workers in the state they are prevented from negotiating a floor of wage decency underneath them.

"Copyright law in this state is lightyears behind similar law internationally. In general Artists do not realise the full extent of the property rights on their material. This has the effect of cutting off what would be a consistent flow of income in a sector that experiences income irregularities.   

"The vast majority of reforms that are necessary in this sector would be cost neutral to the state and would only mean bring this precarious sector up to the same standards as the rest of the economy. What we need is a government that has the will to carry out these reforms."

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