Thursday, 16 December 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Okay. I talked to them this morning and they still felt there was no movement. Many of them are being denied. Whatever the Department is telling the Tánaiste, I tell him they are being refused on spurious grounds around PRSI contributions that they could not possibly show. If their gigs have collapsed for December, they are being asked in for an interview and being told they must prove they had those gigs. That means going around to every single venue and getting letters saying there was to be a gig and it has been cancelled. How does someone prove that with a week to go until Christmas?
There are also people who are on a lower payment because their PUP was phased down. Somebody else who comes in after 7 December can get the €350 payment, if he or she can get it. They are in the exact same situation but one person is getting €350 and another €203. It is cruelly unfair. We are asking for consistency and for the Department not to put hoops in front of people in advance of Christmas. The Government should take the same attitude the Tánaiste just displayed towards the EWSS, that is, get the money out first and tie up the anomalies later.
Will the Minster for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media please meet the Music and Entertainment Society of Ireland, MEAI, before Christmas to discuss the problems musicians and entertainers are facing?