- 07 Aug 20
Minister Humphreys spoke directly yesterday to singer and Songwriters, Composers & Authors Board Member Luan Parle to offer PUP reassurances
On Monday musician and Songwriters, Composers & Authors Board Member Luan Parle took to social media to complain about the Minster for Social Protection Heather Humphreys' "re-skill and retrain" comments.
"I cannot explain the absolute rage I feel as I write this and I have had to tailor my choice of words," Parle reflected. "Working as a professional musician is not just something you learn overnight. It takes years upon years honing, learning & investing in your craft. Musicians are always the first to be called upon for charity and fundraising events and always the first to give their time free of charge and at their own costs."
Over the following 48 hours she received hundreds of supportive comments from other musicians and was asked on to the likes of East Coast FM, Spirit Radio and Classic Hits to discuss the difficulties of life as an artist during Covid.
The first sign that the Minister was getting the message was on Tuesday when she held a conference call with the Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland who reported afterwards that: "The Minister is fully understanding of the problems facing the workers in the Music & Entertainment sector and gave her assurances that her Department would give every assistance they can to help people through this crisis.
"The Minister has agreed to a dedicated team within the Department to deal with workers in the Industry," the MEAI added. "She also clarified that musicians and entertainers could accept sporadic work without it affecting their PUP. The Department would also make entitlements under other Welfare schemes available to PUP if they are applicable and if the applicant fulfils the existing criteria."
There was further good news yesterday when Minister Humprheys spoke on the phone to Luan Parle who passed on this information: "There is a direct email address in place for all artists and musicians to discuss issues you are having with your PUP payment. This includes presenting 2019 accounts if for example 2018 was not a year you were earning due to writing/recording etc. Email: [email protected]".
Like Luan, we welcome Minister Humphreys' clarification and reaching out to musicians who are facing the most uncertain of futures. It demonstrates that when different strands of the industry come together those in power will listen. What we desperately need now is the same degree of acknowledgement and reassurance for the rest of the 35,000 people working in the live events industry.