Written answers

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Arts Policy

Photo of Cormac DevlinCormac Devlin (Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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102. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of efforts to support companies in the Irish circus, events and the live performance sector. [30230/21]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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Circus has a long tradition in Ireland, incorporating classical or traditional circus and contemporary circus. Both strands are valued artistically, with classical circus having a long working history in Ireland, while contemporary circus practice is relatively new. The Arts Act 2003 cites circus as one of nine art forms. As an art form, circus attracts high audience numbers each year including many rural audiences and members of new communities.

The Arts Council supports both strands of circus and, through direct support and strategic intervention, engages with the sector to assist individuals and organisations to develop high-quality performance and participatory work. The Arts Council's support is by way of grants under a range of categories including bursary, strategic funding, project awards and touring and dissemination awards.  There were very significant increases in supports provided to circus in 2020 and 2021, with over €2.2 million allocated to circus, street arts and spectacle in 2021 to both organisations and individual circus artists. Details of all grants are available on the Arts Council’s website. Funding for the Arts Council has increased steadily in recent years, reaching a record level of €130 million this year. Under the Arts Act 2003, the Arts Council is independent in its funding decisions.

Under the Economic Recovery Plan, Government extended the period during which a range of horizontal and business supports will be available to enterprises and workers in all sectors of the economy, including the Arts and Culture sectors.  Measures include:

- Extending the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to 31 December.

- Extending the Pandemic Unemployment Payment beyond 30 June 2021.

- Extending the Commercial Rates Waiver to end-September 2021.

 - Broadening of eligibility criteria for the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID-19, which opens the scheme up to businesses in non-rated premises.

- The Economic Recovery Plan sets out the intention to introduce a new, additional and more streamlined business support scheme in September 2021, called the Business Resumption Support Scheme.

In addition to horizontal supports, the Economic Recovery Plan includes a package of sectoral supports for the Tourism, Live Events and Arts and Culture.

For the live events, arts and culture sectors, I opened applications for the new €14 million Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme on 9 June. This payment is targeted at helping not only bands and musicians, but also technical crew who support live performance.

I also recently announced 237 grant allocations under the €25m Live Performance Support Scheme. I allocated €50 million to a suite of measures to assist the live performance sector. The 2021 scheme is aimed at supporting employment and wellbeing opportunities across all genres and the continued production of high quality artistic output for the public.  These included a number of allocations to circuses.

An allocation of €5 million has been made available to local authorities for live performances in summer 2021 to animate town centres, should public health considerations permit.  This will allow for the procurement by local authorities of performances by local performers.  This funding will be allocated shortly.

Up to €1 million was allocated to the St Patrick's Festival 2021 for programming and it supported over 3,500 days of employment for performers, producers, artists, technicians, creatives and support staff.

The Economic Recovery Plan includes a commitment for Government to prioritise a Basic Income guarantee pilot scheme for artists. This was a key recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce.


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