Nothing from €50 million live entertainment fund for workers most in need - Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has deplored the absence of supports for the most vulnerable music and entertainment workers in the long-awaited €50 million funding finally allocated for the live entertainment industry today.
Self-employed workers and small businesses in the music and entertainment industry with less than €20,000 turnover will not be eligible for any of the €14 million supports specifically set aside for businesses in the sector as part of the €50 million package.
They will also be unable to apply for the €25 million Live Performance Support Scheme, which is “aimed at commercial venues, producers and promoters”, but not open to performers.
“Venues, production companies and promoters need funding, and we welcome that €50 million is finally being distributed half a year after it was promised”, Teachta Ó Snodaigh said, “but it is utterly absurd that ‘performers’ will not be eligible to apply for live performance funding”.
“As we mark a year since the music and entertainment industry closed completely, it is shameful that still no support is being provided to the least well off in the sector.
“The most glaring omission in this announcement, is that while big name acts who got funding in multiple schemes last year will be eligible for funding once more.
“This makes it harder for the most vulnerable - the crew who make gigs possible and musicians who were just getting started in the industry in recent years - who are being forced to leave the industry or sell their instruments and equipment in order to make ends meet.
“We saw in the recent survey conducted by the Music and Entertainment Alliance of Ireland that 20% of workers in the sector struggle to meet mortgage repayments, almost 60% can’t pay bills and one in five have had to seek mental health supports.
“For months, Sinn Féin has consistently called for hardship funding for all workers in the sector to help pay bills and meet mortgage repayments, but these calls have been ignored.
“These workers need clarity and support, and we are also calling on Minister Catherine Martin to extend the deadline for events to be eligible for LPSS funding until November.
“It makes no sense that venues will only be funded to host events up to September, when Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently said we won’t be ready for anything more than small outdoor gatherings until September. An additional two months could allow performances that get funding to have a realistic chance of taking place. Clarity is also needed as to whether recipients will be paid up front, or how funding will be impacted if restrictions change yet again.
“Instead of setting aside most of the €50 million for events that restrictions might not allow, the Minister should provide venues with flexibility and struggling artists with the hardship funding they need to survive. Otherwise we may not have a music and entertainment industry to reopen.”