Statement from Minister Martin following meeting with arts stakeholders, Minister for Health and Acting CMO

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin T.D., has welcomed what she described as a “very positive and productive meeting” which she had today with the Minister for Health, the Acting Chief Medical Officer, the National Campaign for the Arts and the Arts Council.

At the meeting, Minister Donnelly and the Acting CMO heard first hand the concerns of the arts sector. The meeting provided an opportunity for arts stakeholders to hear the concerns of the Acting CMO in relation to the spread of COVID-19. It was agreed that the NCFA and the Arts Council could provide input to health authorities in charting the way forward for a return to safe performances and activities. In this context the two Ministers, Departments, NCFA and the Arts Council will continue to strengthen engagement, with a view to minimising impact on the arts sector as new Government measures are introduced.

The importance of the Arts as a “salve for society in very difficult times” was recognised by all at the meeting. It was also acknowledged again that the arts sector had been one of the first to be impacted as a result of restrictions and would potentially be the last to return to full work. “The sector includes artists and performers from across the spectrum, as well as thousands of back-stage and behind-the-scenes crew and support workers, the majority of whom have had no work for more than six months,” Minister Martin said. “Our objective today was to build strong lines of communication and understanding between the stakeholders and the two Departments. We understand the importance of the arts community getting back to earning a living and doing what they love, for the benefit of all society.”

Minister Martin thanked Minister Donnelly and the Acting CMO for agreeing to the meeting, particularly in a week when the re-opening of schools is a priority. “It was clear from the meeting that both the Minister and the Acting CMO understand and deeply appreciate the role of the arts in society and the degree to which they have been impacted by the crisis.”

The NCFA and the Arts Council will meet with the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht later this week to follow up on today’s engagement with the Minister for Health and the Acting CMO. Among the matters to be explored further will be the arts sector’s input to the Roadmap for Resilience and Recovery.

The Minister noted that she intends to establish a dedicated Taskforce for the Arts and Culture Sector in the coming week and will announce details of support packages arising out of the July stimulus package shortly.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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