The recommendations of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce have been welcomed by a business representative body for the events industry.
Event Industry Ireland has said that it is “heartened” by the recommendations contained within the Life Worth Living report compiled by the taskforce.
The recommendations of the Taskforce reflect economic imperatives for those who work in this area of Irish life and whose work is critically aligned with other aspects of the Irish economy, especially tourism.
The report recommended several measures which could help individuals and organisations affected by COVID-19, as much cultural life is likely to remain significantly impaired for some time.
Among those are a three year pilot Universal Basic Income scheme for the arts, culture, audio visual and live performance and events sectors.
The taskforce also recommends an extension of the professional artists on jobseeker’s allowance scheme to other art forms as recommended in the 2019 review.
The Life Worth Living Report recommends the introduction of a Business Supports Grant Scheme for SMEs in the event industry that are excluded from the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme.
The proposed scheme would be designed to provide grants to address four urgent issues:
- Bank Loans and lease payments
- Insurance costs
- Warehouse and office rents
- Cash flow to pay wages as part of the EWSS system
The Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce was created by Minister Catherine Martin in September to look at how the sector could adapt to the circumstances of COVID-19, identify medium term goals for the recovery of the sector, and recommend government policies and actions which could help with both.
Event Industry Ireland is a group of event professionals and business owners from the Irish events industry, who say their collective concern for the future of the sector post-COVID has brought them together.
The business events industry is valued at €2 billion annually, is responsible for generating €850 million in export value and employs 35,000 people.
EII board member, Mr Paul Davis said said that their sector is “at the point of decimation” due to COVID-19, and the public health guidelines put in place to contain the virus.
“However, unwilling and undeterred, many businesses moved quickly to investigate alternative means of operations to keep themselves afloat and employees in place.
“Many business events companies pivoted to the provision of virtual events for clients and while this agility was necessary, government support is crucial in the shorter-term to ensure the survival of the industry.”
“We are heartened by the publication of the recommendations in this Report which if implemented will ensure the protection of many vulnerable businesses.”
He said that a with Business Supports Grant Scheme and other recommendations in the report implemented, the industry could rehire a great many of the staff who were laid off during the shutdown.