Wednesday, 24 November 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Eugene Murphy (Fianna Fail)
On a very serious note, I should not be mentioning "Silent Night" but for many politicians and entertainers there will be many silent nights. Musicians are facing a second season of cancellations. These cancellations are piling up with the new Covid-19 restrictions on hospitality and social gatherings. A recent survey by the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland found that almost 75% of its members have experienced cancellations of events for the month of December. This is resulting in a significant drop in income. Almost half of those surveyed are worried about whether they will be able to afford Christmas. The results of an Amárach public opinion survey conducted for the Department of Health that was released recently show that 45% of people have cancelled social events between now and Christmas. We can understand this given the concern out there.
The MEAI survey also discovered that almost 40% have had to take up work outside the industry, with 47% saying they may have to leave music and entertainment for good to earn a living. The long lockdown followed by the latest setbacks for musicians and entertainers is taking its toll on their health, with 40% saying they are not in a good place and 20% saying they need to seek help for their health. The survey also shows that almost 80% of musicians, DJs, entertainers and stage crews have experienced a return to less than half of their pandemic work.
This is all happening against a background of cuts to supports and the withdrawing of supports for musicians and other entertainers. We can argue the pandemic unemployment payment was probably not the right vehicle for every sector. We can understand there were serious shortages in other sectors, such as hospitality, and there were many complaints. People in entertainment do appreciate all of the supports being put in place. We need to look at the new scheme proposed in September by the MEAI to the Government. Perhaps we can contact the Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin, to see whether they could put this scheme in place. It would really be a help to these people. Nothing will be happening in the entertainment sector until next spring.