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'NPHET has to stop running our country' - MCD director calls for return of events sector

The director of promoter MCD says she has no faith in the Government to restart the events sector...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.55 18 Aug 2021


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'NPHET has to stop running our country' - MCD director calls for return of events sector


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.55 18 Aug 2021


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The director of promoter MCD says she has no faith in the Government to restart the events sector, as NPHET is running the country.

Caroline Downey was speaking as representatives for the sector met earlier with Arts Minister Catherine Martin, calling for a clear roadmap on when it will be able to re-open.

COVID-19 supports are to remain in place for those working in live events until restrictions on the industry have been removed.

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Stakeholders have been calling for a roadmap for a full return to live performances, as pressure has been building on the Government.

Ms Downey told The Hard Shoulder she believes it is not Minister Martin they should be speaking with.

"I do feel sympathy for Catherine Martin and the predicament that she's in, but right now I 100% believe our country is being controlled and run by NPHET.

"And actually the person who needs to be stepping up the plate here is Stephen Donnelly, and Leo [Varadkar] and Micheál Martin.

"And that basically NPHET stops running us, stops running our country, stops running our business and that they start focusing heavily on it."

Citing a recent Bruce Springsteen concert in New York, she says Ireland is being too cautious.

"If you want to go to the theatre in Ireland, 50 people are allowed in to your venue for 1,000.

"And we are so far ahead on our vaccine programme - I think it's going to be 90% by the end of August - and we still don't have a road plan.

"And actually if we do have a roadmap coming out of this, we need to be 100% open - our theatres and our venues cannot afford not to have 100% open.

"We employ 35,000 which - combined - is the same amount of people that work in Twitter, Google, Facebook."

'COVID isn't going anywhere'

She says the virus is not going anywhere, so we have to live with it.

"I think the biggest elephant in the room is actually the hospitals have never been able to cope.

"That issue isn't going to go away this year, it's not going away next year - COVID isn't going anywhere.

"My question would be what are they doing to prevent the hospitals being under the strain, other than keeping everybody locked up?

"What is their plan? What is NPHET's plan, what is the health department's plan...because COVID is here to stay for quite a while.

"I can't see what's going to change next year that isn't already in place this year".

Asked about any possibility of the Electric Picnic Festival going ahead this year, she says: "I actually have no faith in this Government.

"I don't know if it's because it's a coalition, but no decisions have been made.

"And the people who run this country is NPHET, and NPHET is there to actually protect the hospitals - so therefore care nothing about our industry".

'NPHET has to stop running our country' - MCD director calls for return of events sector

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Main image: Caroline Downey is seen outside the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin in 2014. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

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Caroline Downey Catherine Martin Covid-19 Supports Live Events MCD NPHET The Hard Shoulder

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