Press Release

Irish Equity calls on Minister to go further to combat sexual harassment and bullying

Date Released: 09 November 2017

Irish Equity has criticised, as not going far enough, the announcement by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, that board members and senior staff in arts organisations are to take part in special workshops on sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Irish Equity Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “Reminding organisations of their responsibilities is always welcome but any initiative to tackle the problem of bullying and sexual harassment in the arts needs to have teeth. We are specifically calling on the Minister to create a direct relationship between funding and good practice. Arts organisations applying for funding should have to demonstrate that they are operating good practice in this area as part of the application procedure.

“We note with interest that the Minister has invited the heads of eight leading theatres, including the Abbey and Gate, to meet with her and the Arts Council next week to seek ‘ways to create a change in culture for the arts’. Before this meeting happens, those eight organisations need to be asked to demonstrate how they handle these issues currently, what procedures and policies they have in place and whether these practices and policies are up to standard."

She added: “If unacceptable behavior is to be driven out of the sector there must be consequences for those who do not adopt proper procedures. Access to funding must be in question if organisations are not operating to the best standard on this matter.”


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