- 04 Aug 20
It's clear that Ireland's arts community feels abandoned by Government
There's been more angry reaction from musicians to Minister for Social Protection Heather Humprheys' "Some jobs will not come back and there is no point in waiting for the never never... It is best that we help people to re-skill, retrain and look at other jobs they can take up" comments. Whilst Humphreys wasn't specifically addressing musicians, that sort of rhetoric from a former Minister for the Arts has understandably struck a bum note.
As reported yesterday on hotpress.com, singer and Irish Association of Songwriters, Composers & Authors Board Member Luan Parle responded by saying: "I am absolutely shocked, saddened, outraged and disgusted to hear of the latest downright ‘insulting’ comments from former Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys who I once stood beside for the launch of The Socio-Economic Contribution of Music to the Irish Economy report in 2015 commissioned by IMRO... a report that stated The Music Industry contributes more than €470 million to the economy."
The support for those remarks has been widespread with singer-songwriter Colm Lynch messaging: "Couldn’t agree more. More action needed from everybody, not just the Government. If you ever enjoyed the arts, and you want it back, you must demand it. You must demand that people find a way to make it viable, not just a lazy 'well people might dance' nonsense. If you ever valued art, performance, and all the heart and soul that goes into it, now is the time to prove it!"
Also giving it both barrels is Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers: "Let's stop for a minute and think who has been responsible for the two biggest most recent catastrophes in memory. The banks being bailed out brought about a world wide recession that equaled if not surpassed the Great Depression in its severity. Politicians of many hues disregarded warnings about the coronavirus that has led to countless deaths world wide. Tell you what, Heather... I'll stick to playing the guitar and trying to do some good in the world and you shut the fuck up."
Reacting to Hot Press' coverage of Luan Parle's condemnation of Minister Humphreys, Niall Breslin says: "I would really welcome the opportunity to bring a group of peers and colleagues from the arts and events industry to speak to our elected politicians, to have constructive and respectful debate on how our industry functions and its social, personal and economic significance."
Count us in, Bressie...
"On one hand, you have people praising Normal People and the success and the Emmy nominations," Brian Kennedy told the Irish Daily Mail. "Then, on the other, you are telling people in the arts to go and get a “normal job”.
‘I have been a musician for over 20 years, I have never not done music. I don’t think I would know how to not be a musician.’
"A politician telling other people to go get a new job," adds Cathy Maguire. "That’s rich... absolutely infuriating" while Peter Kavanagh ventures: "A disgraceful ignorant suggestion. Our musicians and artists deserve support and a better attitude from government. Sickening."
Suzanne Savage is even more forthright: "100% with you Luan. Im a taxpayer too, dear philistine politician. I studied for years to do the high skill demanding work that I do, in a highly competitive industry. She obviously wouldn't know culture if it bit her. Disgusting."
"Music is a key part of our culture and heritage in essence our identity so can any community afford at any time to lose something so precious?" asks Thomas McCutcheon. "We shouldn't forget that during the lockdown it was music, poetry, comedy and nature that protected people's well-being. More than ever it should be funded and supported not sidelined. That's why you need strategic thinkers in government that can join up all the dots."
"It's because when all is said and done, regardless of how much revenue, tourism and goodwill the Irish music industry has brought the country, the Government still doesn't class it as a 'real job'," Paul Bell fumes. "Happy to dine out on their U2 associations in the USA and take their freebies for multiple Irish artists at the 3Arena but they view anybody other than huge headline acts as just something you happen to be doing... i.e. a musician. Of all the countries to start spouting this Neo Liberal shite I didn't think Ireland would be one of them. With the President being such a strong supporter of all the arts will he champion the musicians cause over the coming months?"
"I hope this isn't the sum total of creative thinking among the government," says Col Paterson. "Very negative, lazy statement... Something you would hear from the Tory party."
Alan Fitzsimons says: "I spent over 25 years building my craft and even when signed to a record label early in my career, and I was minded like a glove, there was years of no extra money in the kitty! Ireland as an island has in my view a high proportion per capita of some of the most underrated incredible singers, songwriters, musicians and performers that could wipe the floor globally. If only the arts were properly invested in, promoted, nurtured and most of all supported financially throughout COVID-19. I wish all my peers in this amazing circuit strength and a return to ceoil agus craic as soon as possible."
"I’m sure our wonderful creative and arts loving present Michael D wouldn’t be too impressed with her comments," proffers Carol Keogh. "Perhaps it should be brought to his attention and if he can help with the struggles of the arts in Ireland... might be worth considering. He’s a good kind man."
Once again we stand together with our friends and colleagues within the music industry to call for action to help protect the live music industry. Please show your support and share the message #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/LPFZVWHoPo
— Inhaler (@InhalerDublin) August 4, 2020
Hey heather humphreys, thanks for your kind words of support for the musicians of Ireland- if a gov minister spoke about a multi national pulling the plug in a town in Ireland there would be revulsion and outrage. Should I reskill as the new Norman Tebbit? Onyourbike
— Gary Cooke (@garycooke2) August 4, 2020