- 09 Nov 21
"Workers in this industry have jobs but Government restrictions are preventing workers from working," says MEAI's Matt McGranaghan. "The Government have a duty to support us while they restrict us from working."
The Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) have issued a statement, warning that up to half of workers in their sector will see their "welfare support payments cut from today, as they are forced to register for Jobseekers' Allowance." They also note that those remaining on the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) face a cut of €50 a week.
In addition, the MEAI – representing 5,000 people in the music and entertainment industry in Ireland – have criticised the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, for calling on the public to cut back on their socialising, which the MEAI say is "damaging the business."
Although the live events industry is reopening, not all musicians and crew are back at work – with many relying on the PUP. The MEAI have raised issue with the transition from the PUP to Jobseekers, and are calling on the Government "to reverse these decisions."
“This is another deadly blow to a group of people who have seen their livelihoods vanish because of the industry being closed and are still not fully back on their feet,” says MEAI spokesman Matt McGranaghan.
“Unfortunately, what we have now is the removal of necessary supports (PUP) and reopening guidelines which are not conducive to generating employment comparable to pre-pandemic levels,” he continues. "Workers on Jobseeker’s will be viewed as unemployed and places their future in this industry at risk. The PUP offered that same person a different level of protection financially but especially regarding their employment status.
“We are being told about fewer gigs, reduced crowds and even cancelled gigs all of which add up to a major threat to people’s livelihoods. November is traditionally one of the quietest periods of the year for the industry, but December is often the busiest month yet we are hearing of cancelled gigs. Case numbers and the confusion from government over the reopening guidelines is causing grave uncertainty for our industry.”
The MEAI have noted that the recent reopening guidelines, which introduced tighter restrictions on how live music and entertainment could take place in venues, and brought in mandatory electronic ticketing and contact tracing, are "jeopardising work in the traditionally non-ticketed sector."
Following the second quiet Christmas period in a row, and the typically quiet months of January and February, McGranaghan fears that "the majority of workers will not be in this sector" by March.
"People just can’t afford to hang on as supports are being taken away despite all the reassurances by Government for this sector,” he adds.
“This is about our culture and livelihoods. Workers in this industry have jobs but Government restrictions are preventing workers from working. The Government have a duty to support us while they restrict us from working."
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