Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the Arts, Niamh Smyth TD has called for an urgent and comprehensive funding package for the Arts to address the growing crisis in the sector as a result of the Covid-19 public health emergency.

Her call comes as the gradual re-opening of parts of the economy highlights the particular challenges facing those involved in the production and performance of Arts in our country.

Deputy Smyth commented, “All across our society and our economy, huge sacrifices have been made in response to the public health emergency. Very many people have incurred huge costs and loss of income, with the Arts sector being among the hardest hit. Unlike many sectors however, the path out of the crisis for those involved in the arts is still very far from clear.

“My party and I have been consulting the sector and it is very clear that the crisis facing those involved in production and performance is without precedent. Put simply, without significant intervention we are going to see an exodus of talent, experience and creativity from one of our most defining industries on a permanent basis.

“The sector itself has come forward with a range of detailed proposals to deal with the short and medium term priorities and there is much to support within these plans. In the immediate term, the priority must be to ensure that the structures and the ecology that is in place survives for the next 18 months.

“Artists need confirmation that they will continue to access income supports until venues are allowed to open safely. They also need a simple and straightforward grants regime for the coming year that allows them to continue to survive in a context where the prospect of people paying to visit live venue performances remains remote.

“The Government needs to trust artists. They know their own sector and they will not take risks with the safety of their audiences. They want to nurture and protect their crafts, which play such an important role in our society. The value of that work to the mental, emotional and artistic health of our nation is more critical than ever as we emerge from this phase of the public health emergency. The Government must move quickly to underpin it”.