- 11 Oct 21
The appeal comes after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly says another lockdown on the hospitality sector “can’t be fully ruled out.” Photo: Miguel Ruiz.
Musicians have appealed to the government not to reintroduce restrictions which would be detrimental to an industry which has only began its economic recovery.
The Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) has written a letter addressed to the Taoiseach and government ministers warning of the devastating impact further restrictions could have on the industry.
“In recent days, speculation and remarks around the possible reintroduction of certain restrictions over the winter period bring a fresh air of uncertainty into a sector known for its precariousness and currently dealing with a severe lack of confidence,” MEAI wrote.
“The music and entertainment industry, as well as being an independent sector in its own right, is also heavily dependent on other sectors such as hospitality, pubs and the entire social sector.
“Any restriction which reduces the confidence in socialising or prohibits attendances to a favourable capacity will have a detrimental effect to this industry moving forward,” they added.
The industry is already reeling from a 20% reduction of the workforce and is threatened with up to 50% finding employment in other sectors. PUP cuts and a reported delay in individual support for workers were attributed as reasons for the exodus.
MEAI told the government:
“While our industry is partially reopened with the promise of full reopening in a matter of weeks, MEAI warned in August that the Autumn/Winter period and into early 2022 could have a more devastating effect to our industry than the previous 18 months during the pandemic.”
In the letter, the associations also pointed out that due to the uncertainty of gigs, events and bookings, a third of industry workers may have to leave or avail of jobseeker’s benefit to support themselves.
The letter also highlighted how the government uses the industry as a tool to attract tourists and investors such at events like the Dubai Expo where music, art and culture are “the shopfront mannequins used to attract and entice customers and investment.”
MEAI spotlighted the people behind these creations and argued that music, art and culture are not commodities which can be cast aside.
“They are created by people and we need now more than ever to protect those very people who create our unique culture and character,” they wrote in the letter.
The association also argued that investment in the industry should be funnelled into human infrastructure and not capital infrastructure. They said the protection of people is vital at this point to safeguard the music, entertainment and arts sectors.
Music and entertainment industry workers fear further restrictions could be imposed after comments made by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly during the week. The Fianna Fáil TD said another winter hospitality lockdown can’t be “fully ruled out.”
The minister said that while the return to lockdown is “unlikely”, it can’t be fully discounted as he proposes to extend the legal framework governing hospitality sectors. The legislation is due to lapse out on January 9th, 2022.
The comments come weeks before restrictions are set to be fully lifted after almost two years of harsh lockdowns and Covid-constraints. The music and entertainment industries are desperate for restrictions to lift after workers’ livelihoods were ravaged by the pandemic.