Ireland’s “world recognised” live events scene could be knocked back 30 years if the Government fails to step in.
Live events are worth around €3.5bn to Ireland every year and up to 35,000 workers may be forced to leave the industry if they are not supported through the coming months.
The Events Production Industry COVID-19 Working Group (EPIC) issued the warning as it launched its pre-budget submission today.
Speaking to Tom Dunne on Moncrieff this afternoon, EPIC board member Liam Fitzgerald said Ireland’s live events industry has become world renowned over the past three decades.
“We are world recognized and that's not just blowing trumpets,” he said.
“We have bands all over the world touring with Irish engineers and Irish technicians with them because they are recognized as knowing what they're doing.
“Tours start their journey in this country deliberately because of the quality of the staff in this country.
“There would have been a time, way back when I was starting in the industry, that there was certainly an issue with bringing equipment and bringing people in from abroad to put on large events and over the last 30, 35 years that's been building up to the case now where that is very rarely necessary and very rarely needed.
“The vast majority of equipment and people; we have the skills here, we have the workforce and we have the infrastructure in the country. Now if we lose that we're setting ourselves back 30 years.”
We need your help! If you miss live gigs, theatre, festivals & the memories & joy that they bring then support the live event industry by mailing your TD by clicking this link:https://t.co/iCcEIrZVv1
It only takes a minute.
— Whelan's (@whelanslive) September 16, 2020
Mr Fitzgerald said live events will play a crucial role when it comes to getting the country back on its feet after COVID.
“We really do feel that the entertainment industry, the event industry, is a vital part of rebuilding the culture, the status, the spirit of the nation,” he said.
“If that's not there in abundance when the time comes that it's safe to open the doors and when it's safe to expand the audience sizes back up so we can have that communal experience of being in a crowd and hearing something or seeing something that gives us real inspiration … if that’s lost, we are in a dire situation.”
Tonight Dolans along with venues across Ireland is lit up in red in support of the Live Entertainment & Events Industry National Awareness week pic.twitter.com/EEacKcqDWL
— Dolans Pub Limerick (@mydolans) September 15, 2020
He said everyone in the industry understands the need to keep people safe and remain closed until is safe to reopen – but in the meantime, workers need Government support.
“We can't pretend that any fundraiser is going to make this happen,” he said. “We can't pretend that we're going to survive without the State’s assistance.
“We need the PUP and the TWSS to go back to the levels they were at because we're just about to get into a position whereby the mortgage breaks that were granted six months ago are running out.
“People are now getting to the point where, while their Pandemic Unemployment Payments and employers assistance are being reduced, their rent breaks and mortgage relief are disappearing, so those people are going to just find themselves unable to pay their way and have to have to exit the industry.”
He said people can support the industry by emailing your TD and calling for increased supports.
If you miss live gigs, theatre, festivals and the memories and joy that they bring then support the live event industry by mailing your TD by clicking this link: https://t.co/H0xtT9uMYq#ThisIsWhoWeAre pic.twitter.com/nUtJM2Us96
— IMRO (@IMROireland) September 16, 2020
You can listen back here: