Minister Martin must meet with stakeholders and end shambolic approach to reopening nightlife - Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has called on the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to meet with sector representatives and end the shoddy way in which workers, performers and businesses in the live entertainment and nightlife industry have been treated by her Department.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“People whose lives depend on the live performance and nightlife sectors, which employ thousands across the country, have been badly let down by Minister Catherine Martin who has consistently failed to show them the respect and leadership they deserve.
“These past few weeks have seen funding for live performance slashed in half in the Budget, artists and crew forced off the pandemic unemployment payment with no alternative supports in place, and then the utter fiasco that has been the delivery of guidelines on reopening by the Department.
“With 22nd October clearly signposted for weeks in advance, it is inexcusable that it took until the day of the reopening for last-minute guidelines to be published, forcing many into a position where they had no time to prepare and were unable to reopen.
“To do so once was bad enough, but it is an outrage that venues were then told new requirements for ticketing would apply from today only to again be left until the last minute yet again to catch sight of what this would actually involve. The regulations that make this law as of today were only published this afternoon!
“This approach is actively harming businesses and employment prospects in a sector already on its knees.
“Had the Minister engaged in proper consultation in advance of announcements, rather than presenting industry representatives with hastily cobbled together fait accompli guidelines that sought no input from the experts, a well-considered realistic system could be already in place.
“Minister Martin needs to own up to the mess she has made, end this reckless approach, and finally show the sector the leadership they need to have certainty and clarity on reopening.
“Sinn Féin is calling on her to meet with representatives of pubs, clubs, venues, musicians, performers, crew, promoters and production companies, not to present them with more unworkable 73-page documents dreamt up by people evidently unfamiliar with the practicalities of nightlife, but to instead simply listen.”