- 29 Jul 21
MEAI wrote a strongly-worded letter to the Taoiseach today (July 29), making a plea for the government to consider reopening the live entertainment industry...
Following a warning of a "summer of silence" from the Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) – which represents 5,000 musicians, entertainers, stage crew, etc – there is a new plea to the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and other members of Government to re-open the live music and entertainment sector. It has been one of the only sectors to remain completely shuttered through the entirety of the Coronavirus lockdown, and members of the community have felt routinely ignored by the government over the course of the pandemic.
There are issues that the Department of employment and Social Protection still need to address, with MEAI also pointing out that the most vulnerable workers in the sector, who are on lowest PUP payment of €203, will be classified as unemployed from September onwards.
"Just as Minister for the Arts, Catherine Martin, warned her Government colleagues that the industry is 'in danger of collapse'," the letter stated, "the time for planning is past and urgent action is needed now.
“'Minister Martin and the Taoiseach are talking 'examining the issue’ or starting to plan but we are running out of time here'," stated MEAI spokesman, Matt McGranaghan, who added: 'Our members are in dire straits, they can’t pay their bills, they are selling their instruments and having mental health issues.'"
In their strongly worded letter to the Taoiseach, MEAI pointed out that with the highly successful vaccination roll-out and with the re-opening of hospitality, it was now time for the Government to look at bringing back live music and entertainment declaring: “We are asking for your leadership in reopening the only sector that is still closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.”
It added: “The current guidelines prohibiting live music, which have existed now for some months, are excessive, uninformed and do not take into account the varying genres of music and entertainment that all coexist under the one pantheon of live performance. With increased vaccination and relaxation of restrictions for indoor hospitality, now is the time to reopen our sector in a safe and responsible manner.”
MEAI pointed out that Sunday July 25th last marked 500 continuous days of forced lockdown and restrictions for the live entertainment industry.
The Association recalled that it had written to Minister Catherine Martin and her Department many times over recent months pleading for the re-opening of live entertainment.
But they also said: “Despite our constant pleas, our sector’s cause has not advanced a single step. The provision for the return of some live entertainment could have and should have been achieved to successfully coincide with the reopening of indoor hospitality, had the requests been heeded and acted upon.”
The letter added: “Taoiseach, our sector has nowhere else to turn. We need your pragmatism, realism, and leadership to create a workable and safe roadmap to reopening for our sector. We are urging you to make the necessary changes and take the required action to ensure the safe and responsible reopening of our sector. “