The Rural Independent group has warned that the entire live entertainment industry is facing collapse and wipe-out.
Rural Independent leader, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, has accused the government of taking a “disjointed and unclear approach” to reopening the economy.
He believes the government has unnecessarily “tormented and tortured” the industry.
Live entertainment industry
Speaking from his Tipperary constituency today (Monday, August 23rd), Deputy Mc Grath stated:
“Ireland’s rich and significant live entertainment sector has been treated appallingly by this government since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Firstly, the deputy said the government has denied artists their right to emergency PUP payments.
Now, he added, their “continued and dysfunctional lack of clarity on when the industry can resume is testimony to their low regard for this sector”.
“I have been calling for clarity to be given to our arts and entertainment industry for months now.”
“Last week, the Taoiseach created yet more confusion and uncertainty in a live media interview aimed at addressing the reopening of the sector.”
He warned that the government’s “evasive arrogance” on the reopening of live entertainment will have a significant long-term impact on the availability of live entertainment in Ireland.
“The fact that 40,000 people will be allowed into Croke Park (which I welcome) for the All-Ireland final this year is excellent, but a musician cannot perform on stage at any venue makes zero sense.”
“The contradiction is glaringly obvious. The wishy-washy attitude must stop.”
He stated that the government must provide the music and entertainment industry with a precise date for reopening immediately.
“This week, 4,945 people, employed in arts, entertainment and recreation, are receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.”
“But, the government wishes to downgrade many of these individuals to the jobseekers allowance payment next month, despite restrictions keeping them from working.”
Over half will be fully unemployed
He stated that the industry is warning that over half of these people will be fully unemployed and unable to regain self-employment within the next few months unless an immediate reopening date is announced.”
“Therefore, I am calling on the Taoiseach to intervene and to address this serious dilemma for our country’s entertainers.”
“These people have served this country and every community with distinction, honour and charisma for years.”
“They cannot now be abandoned when they need the state’s support more than ever,” concluded the deputy.