- 27 May 21
Read the full open letter below.
On Saturday, Hot Press reported that The Event Industry Alliance were sending a letter to the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, seeking an urgent meeting to address the precarious position of companies and professionals working in the events business in Ireland.
Since we broke this story, it has now been confirmed that the letter – now framed as an Open Letter – has also been sent to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Ministers Paschal Donohue, Catherine Martin, Robert Troy and Eamon Ryan, as well as the Joint Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht. It has also been widely supplied to media.
The Events Industry Alliance is recently formed, cross-industry body, representing eight affiliated groups: including the Event Production Industry COVID 19 Working Group, Association of Irish Festival and Events, Event Industry Association of Ireland, Event Industry Ireland, Irish Exhibition Organisers Association, Irish Showmen’s Guild, Wedding Band Association, and Venue Operators and Promoters Forum.
In the letter, signed by the Event Industry Alliance's Chair, Dan MacDonnell, the group calls for "immediate emergency action." The letter goes on to express that Event Industry Alliance are "extremely frustrated and disappointed at the unfair and unequal treatment" of their member organisations.
The group calls for an "urgent scheme that is comparable to the support level of the CRSS scheme that the hospitality and others in the Experience economy have enjoyed for many months now."
Read the full open letter below:
Open Letter Regarding Supports for the Event Industry
To: An Taoiseach Micheál Martin,
An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Minster Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports, & Media Robert Troy, Minister of State Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Paschal Donohue, Minister for Finance
Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications
Joint Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht
26th of May 2021
It is with very great concern, that I write to you as Chair of the Event Industry Alliance of Ireland who represent over 35,000 people across the entire Irish Events sector.
After 14 months of forced government closure, without any meaningful supports we urgently require immediate emergency action from you and fellow Ministers.
Our member organisations, listed below, all have been in contact with your offices and at present have been given varying accounts of what is to happen with regards to sector supports.
We now again contact you directly, as a united voice.
We are extremely frustrated and disappointed at the unfair and unequal treatment of our member organisations, within The Event Industry Alliance.
Our Industry was the first to close and will be the last to open, many months after the hospitality retail and other industries.
We have been the subject of many announcements and good news stories to the benefit of those announcing but no such benefits or actions have been affected upon our members - and we have now had enough.
Each member organisation as well as numerous leading individuals within our industry has attempted to engage meaningfully with you and your office, and has for the past fourteen months been met with the same repeated stock answer on multiple occasions. Every single response has the same underlying tone, that your representatives are sympathetic to our concerns and the position of our industry, and then go on to illustrate and repeat what supports are available to the individual or member organisation ignoring the basic facts laid before them.
We as an industry fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation. Please do not repeat the supports you say are in place for our member organisations, or advise us that there are “updates pending”.
What we require now and respectfully request is real meaningful action.
The simple facts are:
1. Many of the supports mentioned including the still undistributed €50m Commercial Live Entertainment Fund do not apply to the vast majority of businesses within this industry.
2. Despite been announced as an emergency fund by Minister Paschal Donohoe seven (7) months ago (Budget October 2020), not one Euro of this €50m fund for the live commercial sector has made its way or been distributed to businesses within the sector.
3. The €50M has now been reduced by €1m to fund the St Patrick's Festival, a non commercial and not for profit event.
4. When the €25m LPSS does pass, this will now only go some way to assisting those who will be successful as they scramble to survive this pandemic, leaving many behind and are expected to deliver events between when the winners of the scheme are announced and the end of September, demonstrating little understanding of the event industry.
5. The Event Management companies, SME’s, event industry suppliers and event organisers not specifically having arts or culture as part of their proposed event (as per the requirements of the LPSS) such as Trade Fairs and Exhibitions, Marketing & Public Relations, lighting & Sound companies, along with many others do not qualify for any of the LPSS supports.
6. The MEBAS has not been announced yet.
7. The expanded SBACS scheme amounts to tokenism. It will help the smaller operators, but will do nothing for the many companies with larger turnover and staff numbers.
8. There seems to be a concern among government that you will have to support thousands of businesses when in fact the real number is in the hundreds, and it is sector specific supports that is needed.
9. A weekly payment that amounts to €350 per week or a small one off payment will do little to actively support the majority of businesses we represent, many of whom with pre COVID turnover from €500k to €50m and beyond proving they are substantial net contributors.
10. No other sector including Gardai, Teachers, Civil Servants, TD’s, Ministers or the media would tolerate or accept forced closure for over 14 months and left to live on €350 per week in order to protect everyone else, while the rest of the country continues with their lives.
11. Our members have been living week to week since 12 th March 2020, many forced to sell equipment, borrow money, have not met house repayments and have repossessions as a direct result of the pro-longed government forced closure and have substantial mental health issues without adequate supports.
We require an urgent scheme that is comparable to the support level of the CRSS scheme that the hospitality and others in the Experience economy have enjoyed for many months now and we cannot understand why those in the events industry are been treated differently.
It is wholly unequal and unacceptable that these businesses cannot avail of any meaningful support, that will properly assist them in returning to pre COVID trade.
Many of our member organisations have directly supplied you with proposals, figures and worked examples of supports that could apply to business in our industry, but these suggestions have been ignored and post submission there has been no further engagement despite promise after promise.
There is a fundamental misunderstanding that the entire event industry in Ireland simply falls under one category. This is a very large industry with tens of thousands of people employed and billions of euros in revenue, and spans numerous business types and sizes from small local events to Internationally recognised large scale commercial live events, cutting edge world class business events, summits, exhibitions, trade show, weddings, event sponsorship activity, as we as outdoor entertainment operators such as funfairs and circuses, and the hundreds of SME’s and suppliers involved in supporting every aspect of this once thriving industry.
You, or a member of your department has at some stage spoken to or engaged with each member organisation individually.
The Event Industry Alliance represents all the professional organisations and groups in the Irish Event Industry in one place, the largest cohesive voice within our industry.
Collectively we are now requesting urgent action and for you and your office to meet with us as a group immediately, so you can appraise all leaders of our respective organisations of the following:
- What proposed supports are forthcoming with actual figures.
- When and how will these be actioned- supported by dates.
- Will these supports - both current and proposed be extended well into 2022 to allow us to recover.
- When will the government provide us with the critical restart date and roadmap for events .
In advance of the meeting I wish to advise you that:
Our member organisations are in full support of this communication and The Event Industry Alliance actions, and a representative from each will also be in attendance.
The EIA and its members are aware of and have the ability to comprehend the current available supports so please do not repeat these, and we would reiterate that we have submitted industry figures on numerous occasions to the department.
We would ask the meeting be used as a platform to provide us (EIA member organisations) with the most recent government information including a Road Map for our sector, Department plans and figures for enhanced and meaningful financial support along with supporting scientific evidence to support the continued closure of our sector.
We have already sent this to the office of Minister Catherine Martin, and would request one meeting with both of you in attendance.
The Event Industry Alliance represents the following organisations from the Irish Event Industry:
- Aoife Association of Irish Festival and Events
- EIAI Event Industry Association of Ireland
- EII Event Industry Ireland
- EPIC Event Production Industry COVID 19 Working Group
- IEOA Irish Exhibition Organisers Association
- ISG Irish Showmen’s Guild
- WBA Wedding Band Association
- VOPF Venue operators and Promoters Forum
The proposed agenda for our meeting is as follows:
- Update on proposed supports as requested above, and the timeline for implementation of same .
- Department response and update.
The EIA request that this submission be treated with the highest level of urgency and that a meeting be scheduled with us without delay.
Chair, The Event Industry Alliance