SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin said: “This funding will help to stabilise a sector which has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic but which has also been struggling for years as a result of chronic underfunding.
“We now await the report of the Arts Council Expert Advisory Group and their recommendations around how these additional funds will be allocated. Continued and increased structural funding for the arts is necessary but the question of how artists are treated from an income, taxation and social protection point of view remains open.
“Irish Equity has long been calling on the Government to recognise the special circumstances of artists by way of introducing a basic income structure and expanding the current artist exemption scheme beyond its current remit.
“In this regard, we will continue to be focused on how funding decisions can directly benefit arts practitioners themselves and we are encouraged by the acknowledgement by the Minister for Arts, Josepha Madigan, of the precarious nature of much work by arts practitioners within the sector. It is vitally important that this hard-won additional funding is proportionately used to maximise the opportunities for work and for the creation of better conditions for artists.
“Irish Equity also recognises the dedication and hard work of the various support organisations for artists which have lobbied, researched and documented key findings on pay and conditions within the sector. In particular, the National Campaign for the Arts, Theatre Forum and the Irish Theatre Institute are to be commended for the collaborative and consultative approach they have taken to make the voice of Irish artists heard. Irish Equity looks forward to continuing our very productive partnership with all these representative groups.”