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Live entertainment facing wipe-out says McGrath

The Government’s “disjointed and unclear” approach to reopening the economy is leaving the entire live entertainment industry “facing collapse and wipe-out”, according to the Rural Independent leader Deputy Mattie Mc Grath.

The Tipperary TD said that “Ireland’s rich and significant live entertainment sector has been treated appallingly by this government since the beginning of the pandemic. Firstly, they have denied artists their right to emergency PUP payments and now their continued and dysfunctional lack of clarity on when the industry can resume is testimony to their low regard of this sector.”

“I have been calling for clarity to be given to our arts and entertainment industry for months now. The industry has been unnecessarily tormented and tortured by this government,” McGrath said. “Last week, the Taoiseach created yet more confusion and uncertainty in a live media interview aimed at addressing the reopening of the sector.”

“The evasive arrogance of both the Taoiseach and the government on the reopening of live entertainment will have a  significant long-term impact on the availability of live entertainment in Ireland.”

“The fact that 40,000 people will be allowed into Croke Park (which I welcome) for the All-Ireland final this year is excellent, but a musician cannot perform on stage at any venue makes zero sense.  The contradiction is glaringly obvious.”

“The Taoiseach must inform the public why the government is prohibiting the Minister with responsibility for Culture and Arts from joining the Covid cabinet sub-committee. Failure by the Taoiseach to address this issue and to provide a crystal-clear plan to reopening the live entertainment sector will only serve to cement his dismally weak leadership further.

“The wishy-washy attitude must stop. The music and entertainment industry must immediately be given a precise date for reopening.”

“This week, 4,945 people, employed in arts, entertainment and recreation, are receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, but the government wishes to downgrade many of these individuals to the jobseekers allowance payment next month, despite restrictions keeping them from working.”

“The industry is warning that over half of these people will be fully unemployed and unable to regain self-employment within the next few months, unless an immediate reopening date is announced.”

“Therefore, I am calling on the Taoiseach to intervene and to address this serious dilemma for our country’s entertainers.”

“These people have served this country and every community with distinction, honour and charisma for years. They cannot now be abandoned when they need the state’s support more than ever,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.

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