Covid-19: Irish Government to Pay a ‘Basic Income’ To 2,000 Artists

Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

Image source, Getty Images
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The scheme will pay weekly payments to artists so that they can continue their creativity.

For three years, approximately 2000 actors, musicians, or other performers will be entitled to a basic income from the Irish government.

Open consultations on the operation of the Basic Income for Arts Scheme have been opened

Each week, it will pay a certain number of individuals working in the arts a weekly payment so they can keep their creative projects going.

A basic payment of €10.50 (£8.75) an hour is suggested in the consultation.

But, it is not yet clear what the total income will be.

Covid-19 restrictions also led to long-term closures of entertainment and arts venues in Ireland.

Catherine Martin (Irish minister for tourism culture, arts and Gaeltacht), created an Arts and Culture taskforce in order to offer suggestions on how the arts might recover from the unprecedented harm done by the pandemic.

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Their top recommendation was that a basic income program be piloted for three years within the arts, music, entertainment, and live performance and event sectors.

Ms Martin previously said that the Irish government was committing about €25m (£20.87m) to the scheme and it would be up and running in early 2022.

Further details are now available in the consultation that opened Thursday and will continue until Friday, the 27th of January.

The scheme asks for your opinions on specific details such as what should the goals be? Who should be eligible to receive the income, what should the selection process be and the proper level of pay.

It is unclear how many artists and cultural workers will be paid, but 2,000 has been previously suggested.

The consultation states that if the number of people who are eligible to participate in the scheme exceeds the available places, then the participants could be chosen at random.

In a statement, Ms Martin called the Basic Income for the Arts a “once-in-a-generation policy intervention”.

A number of programs have been implemented in Northern Ireland to support people who work in the arts, culture, and other venues that are affected by pandemic restrictions.

After being shut down for over a year, nightclubs were briefly reopened for business in October 2021. Indoor music venues have been granted social distancing permission.

In response to concern about Omicron’s spreading, closures and restrictions on these venues were recently reinstated.


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