17/01/18

Statement by Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister Josepha Madigan TD on Workplace harassment in the arts and culture sector

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD today (Wednesday January 17 2018) reaffirmed her commitment to measures aimed at eliminating workplace harassment in the arts and culture sector.

The Minister, responding to an open letter in today’s Irish Times signed by 72 female theatre professionals, stated that everyone, regardless of their job, is entitled to work in an atmosphere in which respect, dignity, fairness and equality are very much the norm.

“My Department is working closely with the Irish Theatre Institute with a view to putting in place a series of actions that will find an appropriate way forward for the Theatre sector on this sensitive topic.” she said

“On 16th November 2017, my predecessor met with the group of eight leaders from Irish theatre organisations, who had co-signed a statement condemning sexual harassment and abuse of power in the theatre in Ireland. The meeting focused on how the theatre sector, in particular, could come together to discuss the issues which have arisen.  It was agreed that my Department would assist in any practical arrangements in this regard.”

“Following that engagement the Irish Theatre Institute has worked to develop an initiative to provide an opportunity for people in the sector to come together to voice views on recent happenings and to consider a respectful way forward for the sector.”

“Details of this initiative are being finalised and I hope to announce them shortly,“ Minister Madigan said.

“I have also asked the Theatre Institute to engage with representatives of the 72 signatories of the letter published today, with a view to ensuring that the measures proposed can address some of the concerns they expressed, in particular addressing culture and practices in the sector into the future.”

“I would welcome a meeting with these representatives in due course so that I can hear their concerns first hand and to ensure that any measures we support, address the core of the issues facing the sector and beyond.”

“While it is not appropriate for me as Minister to become involved in, or comment on individual cases it is important that due process is followed in each individual case.”

“I am vigorously following up on the measures announced by my predecessor last month designed to address issues of sexual harassment in the arts and culture sector and I want to send out a clear message that compliance with the law and a culture of dignity and respect are expected by all regardless of where they work,” the Minister concluded.

ENDS

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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