Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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1091. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if offshore islands can be travelled to by persons living on the mainland in a county adjacent to that island under the current travel restrictions that apply in phase 2 of the adjusted Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11013/20]

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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In accordance with the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, only those resident on an island and those providing essential services are permitted to travel to and from the islands until 10 August 2020.  These restrictions are still in place, pending the expected publication of revised guidance.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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1092. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for theatre opening; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11352/20]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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In accordance with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Businessannounced on the 5th June, there are now two remaining phases instead of three, with Phase 3 starting on the 29th of June, and Phase 4 on the 20th of July. Further work is being carried out in the coming days and weeks to determine which actions will take place in each phase. Updates to the roadmap can be found at www.gov.ie.  Organisations should review the Roadmap and the updates carefully and carry out a detailed assessment of their activities with regard to the continuing public health measures. Based on their assessment, identify which category in which phase of reopening they will be in a position to reopen safely and in line with the continued public health measures. It is not necessary for businesses to seek official authorisation to reopen.

TheNational Return to Work Safely Protocolis a useful guide for organisations in making their assessments and adapting their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures. It sets out in very clear terms for employers, employees and artists the steps that they must take firstly before a workplace reopens, and then while it continues to operate. Further guidance is available from the Health and Safety Authority which is the lead agency in overseeing compliance with the National Return to Work Safely Protocol in the workplace. The HSA Helpline can be contacted at 1890 289 389 or wcu@hsa.ie.

With regards to the reopening of theatres, the Theatre Forum has published guidelines for the reopening of arts centres and these have been welcomed by the Arts Council.  These guidelines which can be accessed here www.theatreforum.ie/assets/uploads/Re-opening-Arts-Centres_Doc-v.1.1.pdf  should assist arts centres and other cultural facilities throughout the country to consider how they might prepare to re-open under totally changed circumstances. The guidelines recognise arts centres as places of work for artists, and as places for audiences to participate and engage with the arts.

The Arts Council has established a short-term Advisory Group to identify ways to address impacts of the Covid-19 Crisis on the sector. This group brings together a number of leading voices from the arts and other sectors and will report to the Arts Council on measures to sustain the arts sector through the current challenging period including the challenges posed by reopening.  I understand that the Group will complete their work shortly and I look forward to receiving their report.

Fáilte Ireland recently published guidelines for the tourism sector in line with the Government’s Roadmap and which were prepared in consultation with the tourism industry and relevant authorities. These guidelines are intended to assist tourism businesses  including some theatres to meet requirements in line with the Return to Work Safely protocol and based on the latest health advice. The report can be accessed at this link: .

Christopher O'Sullivan (Cork South West, Fianna Fail)
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1093. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if access could be opened to the islands in a phased manner with the development of phase 2 of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business seeing free movement within counties. [11443/20]

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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In accordance with the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, only those resident on the islands and those providing essential services are permitted to travel to and from the islands until 10 August 2020.  These restrictions are still in place, pending the expected publication of revised guidance.

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