Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Taoiseach): Statements
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
I have raised repeatedly the plight of particular groups of workers who find their livelihood and employment devastated as a result of the crisis: the 2,000 Debenhams workers; English foreign language teachers; workers in the arts, music and live entertainment and gig economy; and taxi drivers - all of whom need specific road maps and specific packages of support. In the short time that I have I will zone in on two of these groups.
With regard to the arts sector, €6.5 billion is being given to big business in grants and supports. The arts, on which we have depended more than ever in recent months, got €1 million, which is pathetic. This industry faces a bleak, if any, future in the short to medium term and yet we can only come up with €1 million. Will the Taoiseach agree to a national campaign for the arts sector demands for €20 million in extra funding for this year and next year, to extend the Covid-19 payment to those who were denied it because they were not working on 6 March, to continue that payment at least until these sectors recover, and to use our national broadcaster to give particular support to musicians and artists?