Opening of music venues 'will be considered' in the coming weeks

Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin says the opening of music venues "will be considered" ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.06 18 Nov 2020

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Opening of music venues 'will...

Opening of music venues 'will be considered' in the coming weeks

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.06 18 Nov 2020

Share this article

Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin says the opening of music venues "will be considered" in the coming weeks.

She was speaking after the publication of a report from the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce.

Minister Martin also says she will be advocating for a Universal Basic Income for artists and live performers.


It is part of recommendations from the 'Life Worth Living' report.

Other recommendations include supports to address mental health and well-being, social inclusion, policy and planning, taxation and financial provision.

It also proposes supports around education and training, technology and community development - as well as re-imagining public spaces to host outdoor arts and live performance events.

On any opening of venues, Minister Martin told Newstalk Breakfast: "Within the recommendations as well, they're looking for clear guidelines in relation to how that might happen.

"Currently my officials - there's ongoing negotiations with the Department of Health and the Department of the Taoiseach.

"So this is something that will be considered in the coming weeks in the context of the next phase of public health guidance.

"The Government's Plan for Living [with COVID-19] mandates that many arts and culture space are closed at level three - and that is the fear and that's what those in the artist community have expressed to me.

"They are seeking for this to be changed and that is a recommendation they're looking to feed into that.

"Work in relation to these matters is ongoing in my department".


On plans for income supports for the sector, she said artists should not have to move to other areas.

"This is the first time that groups across all the sectors have come together, and these recommendations are not just for survival, but coming over the other side and the recovery.

"So it's a Universal Basic Income - it's a well-established proposal, long before the pandemic.

"It operates as standard tax-free payments to individuals that are resident in the State without reference to their means, or their ability or availability for employment.

"In relation to the Arts sector, this is what they felt as a community would be the gamechanger for them.

"We have to remember that those who make artistic and creative work if that's their chief occupation, even before the pandemic, they often experienced income insecurity and cash-flow problems and sometimes poverty.

"But I think it's a well-accepted fact now that because of COVID, they have basically seen their incomes disappear.

"Performers have had no audiences, which help inspire creativity, culture spaces, concert halls and galleries remain empty - and the lights have basically been turned off for the live events sector."

"For the creation of art - whether it be music, live events, literature - it requires practitioners to have the freedom to create.

"And we don't necessarily need to stifle our arts and cultural collateral by having them work in alternative careers instead of having them working on their craft".

Asked if the Universal Basic Income for the sector will happen, Minister Martin said: "There is a commitment there in the Programme for Government to request the Low Pay Commission to examine Universal Basic Income.

"In relation to all 10 recommendations, I'm going to move immediately to set up an oversight group.

"The recommendations touch a lot of the departments, so I'm going to take in officials from all the departments".

"I obviously will be advocating for it, but I have to liaise with my Government colleagues".

German study

It comes after immunologist Professor Luke O'Neill said study results suggest concerts could go ahead, despite the ongoing risk of the coronavirus.

A German study found that the more entrances a venue has means a decreased risk of spread.

Findings from a test event with 1,212 people suggested that indoor concerts have a 'low' impact on infection rates - provided they are well ventilated and follow public health protocols.

All participants and staff, who wore N95 masks during the event, tested negative within 48 hours after.

Three different scenarios were looked at: one with no restrictions, another with moderate restrictions - such as checkerboard seating and using twice as many entrances - and a final 'strong restrictions' scenario.

This used pairwise seating with a 1.5m space to the next participants, and with four times as many entrances.

Main image: Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin in the Government Press Centre outlining the provisions of Budget 2021 pertaining to her department. Picture by: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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'Life Worth Living' Report Arts Arts And Culture Recovery Taskforce Catherine Martin Culture Music Venues Opening Of Music Venues Universal Basic Income Venues

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