- 17 Nov 20
A Universal Basic Income Scheme, to be piloted for a three-year period, is among the recommendations in a wide-ranging report published by the Taskforce on arts and culture specially appointed by the Minister Catherine Martin. The report, also contains significant recommendations on copyright issues that may strengthen the Government's hand in negotiations with the tech giants..
Catherine Martin, T.D., The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, has welcomed the publication today of the Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce. The report was submitted to Minister Martin earlier today by the Chairperson of the Taskforce, Clare Duignan.
Titled Life Worth Living, the report outlines the proposals agreed on by the Taskforce, to ensure recovery in the Arts & Culture sector, following the dramatic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been clear for some time that Covid-19 has devastated the Arts & Culture sector more than almost any other business sector. As pointed out by Catherine Martin, almost all activity in the greater Arts space has stopped, and it is likely that the sector will be among the last to restart.
The Taskforce makes a number of recommendations to support the survival of as many aspects of the sector as possible, until it fully opens up again. This includes consideration of how it can ensure that the artists and the wider creative, technical, production and support workforce alike can stay afloat and involved, in a way that will mean that arts, culture and entertainment events will continue for Irish audiences and foreign visitors to enjoy in better times.
The recommendations aim to build on the supports that have already been provided to the impacted sectors in Budget 2021, and in what was called the July Stimulus.
The report includes recommendations on policy and planning; income; taxation and financial provision; education and training; technology supports; mental health; social protection; community development; and social inclusion – as well as around the issue of copyright.
The report proposes that a Universal Basic Income Scheme should be piloted for a three-year period in the Arts, Culture, Audio Visual and Live Performance and Events Sectors.
The Taskforce also recommends an extension of the Professional Artists on Jobseekers Allowance Scheme to other art forms, as recommended in the 2019 review. The report recommends establishing a new VAT compensation scheme for Artists and for freelance Arts, live Entertainment and Events Workers and Companies. Plus, in what may seem like a more radical move, it further endorses the idea of transposing the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market into Irish Law – without adjustment or dilution of the directive as it relates to rights holders.
The Taskforce also strongly recommends that the Audio Visual Media Service Directive (AVMSD) should be transposed into Irish Law immediately, because of its importance to the Audio-Visual and Creative Screen Sectors; and it proposes that the Government should introduce a business supports grant scheme for SME’s in the Events Industry, that are excluded from the COVID-19 restrictions support scheme (CRSS).
It is also recommended that the Government should commit to continuing its provision of financial support to Local Authorities, to offset any loss of income experienced in 2021, and to enable the maintenance of their investment in Arts, Culture and Events at 2020 levels.
The Taskforce also recommends that the Government establish a programme that provides wellbeing supports to the creative sector, and a capacity-building and up-skilling scheme for Artists and Creative Workers aimed at recovery and renewal through Professional Development.
The report suggests that the treatment of cultural activities and venues under the various levels of the resilience and recovery 2020-2021 plan for living with COVID-19 requires urgent review, to better reflect actual circumstances, and the particular behaviours of artists, audiences and venue staffs in this vital aspect of Irish Life.
"A representative stakeholders group should be established," the report states, "so that cultural providers can engage with public health experts and other stakeholders to design guidance and support mechanisms, for the re-introduction of safe public engagement in Cultural Activity."
The Taskforce also notes, in the report, that the government should, under the ‘Re-imaging our public spaces’ banner, establish a capital improvement programme, including targeted resources for local authorities to adapt, equip or improve public spaces for cultural and events activities, as well as an activation fund for the private sector to utilise potentially available spaces.
The taskforce also encourages the Government to establish and fund a 'Creative Green Programme'. This would aim to promote sustainable practices in the sector, informed by research, and actions already undertaken nationally and internationally.
“This report will be hugely beneficial to me and to my colleagues in Government," the Minister Catherine Martin said today, "as we examine ways to help the Arts and Culture sector emerge from the very difficult position in which it finds itself. I note in particular the Taskforce’s assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both existing livelihoods within the sector but also people’s future prospects, not just financially but in areas such as wellbeing and maintaining existing skill sets.
"I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenge and the many competing priorities facing Government. Nonetheless, I am delighted that as a Government we have been able so far to respond to date on many of the issues highlighted within this report. We can always strive to do better and that is what I aim to do.”
"I am delighted that the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce has completed our work and submitted the report “LIFE WORTH LIVING” to the Minister," Clare Duignan said. "I must give a huge thanks and praise to my colleagues on the Taskforce. They have committed so much time and energy in helping to craft and shape the report that is now available for all to read. I would also like to thank all those who made submissions during the consultation stage ensuring that this report is a fact driven, balanced document.
“As I say in the report," she added, "almost all activity has stopped in the Arts and Culture sector. The survival, recovery and sustainability of this sector is dependent on economic policy and decision-making in the short and long-term. I strongly believe that this report gives the Government the information required to help the sector by ensuring its recovery, building on its resilience and strengthening it for the future.”
The full list of the members of the Taskforce is as follows:
Clare Duignan Chair
Colette Byrne, County and City Management Association
Denise Chaila, Artist
Jane Daly, Co-Director, Irish Theatre Institute
Pearse Doherty, Event Industry Alliance
Angela Dorgan, Chair, National Campaign for the Arts
Conor Falvey, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media
Désirée Finnegan, CEO, Screen Ireland
Elaine Geraghty, CEO, Screen Producers Ireland
Martin Hayes, Musician
Andrew Hetherington, CEO, Business to Arts
Rónán Hession, Department of Social Protection
Maureen Kennelly, Director, The Arts Council
Mary McCarthy, Council of National Cultural Institutions
Eleanor McEvoy, Chair Irish Music Rights Organisation
Aoife McWeeney, Department of Health
Elaine O'Connor, Event Industry Alliance
Karan O'Loughlin, Irish Congress of Trade Unions & Irish Equity
Micheál Ó Fearraigh, Ealaín na Gaeltachta