Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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1100. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has received a submission from a group (details supplied) for special assistance to deal with the effects in the short and medium-term of the Covid-19 pandemic on the very important events industry; when the consideration of the submission will be completed and decisions made on it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11248/20]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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I wish to advise that a reply to the correspondence referred to by the Deputy has issued.

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 organisations  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 arts and cultural centres, 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.

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: .

On 20th May my colleagues the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, announced the formation of a special Tourism Recovery Taskforce.  The Taskforce is charged with preparing a Tourism Recovery Plan for submission to the Minister which will include a set of recommendations on how best the Irish tourism sector can adapt and recover in the changed tourism environment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The plan will identify priority aims, key enablers and market opportunities for the sector for the period 2020-2023.

More generally, in light of the challenges faced by the arts and culture sector, the Taoiseach and I today  announced €25 million in extra supports to help the Arts and Culture sector recover from the Covid19 Emergency in 2020.  The funding will include bursaries and commissions to artists and arts organisations, and resources for museums and culture workers as they prepare for the re-opening of society. This is additional to  funding previously allocated to the sector.

A total of €20 million will be allocated to the Arts Council bringing its allocation this year to €100 million.  A further €5 million will be available for other measures, including securing the future of key cultural and museum spaces and facilities throughout Ireland, and the production of high-quality digital art and on-line performances.

In addition to all of these measures, my Department and the Department of an Taoiseach will also convene a meeting of relevant representatives from the public and private sector to discuss how to protect and sustain the arts and culture sector through the Covid19 recovery and beyond, recognising that the issues faced by venues as well as artists in an era where mass gatherings are restricted, are unique and will be problematic for quite some time.


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