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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Covid-19: Irish government to pay ‘basic income’ to 2,000 artists


Approximately 2,000 artists, actors, musicians and other performers are set to be paid a basic income by the Irish government for three years.

A consultation on the implementation of the Basic Income for the Arts scheme has begun.

It will pay a set number of artists a weekly stipend so that they can continue to work on their creative projects.

The consultation suggests a basic hourly rate of €10.50 (£8.75).

However, the total income has yet to be determined.

Arts and entertainment venues in the Republic of Ireland, like those in Northern Ireland, were forced to close for extended periods due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Catherine Martin, Ireland’s minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sports, and media, established an Arts and Culture taskforce to recommend ways for the arts to recover from the pandemic’s “unprecedented damage.”

The report’s top recommendation was to test a basic income scheme for “three years in the arts, culture, audio-visual, live performance, and events sectors.”

Ms Martin previously stated that the Irish government was committing approximately €25 million (£20.87 million) to the scheme, which would be operational in early 2022.

More information is now available in the consultation, which began on Thursday and will run until January 27.

It seeks feedback on specifics such as what the scheme’s objectives should be, who should be eligible for the income, how they should be chosen, and what the appropriate level of pay should be.

Consultation for the scheme will run until 27 January

While it is unclear how many people working in the arts and culture will receive the payment, a figure of 2,000 has previously been suggested.

According to the consultation, if there are more people who are eligible for the scheme than there are available places, participants may be chosen at random.

Ms Martin described the Basic Income for the Arts as a “once-in-a-generation policy intervention” in a statement.

There have been a number of schemes in Northern Ireland aimed at providing support to people working in arts and culture and venues affected by pandemic restrictions.

Nightclubs briefly reopened in October 2021 after being closed for a year and a half and social distancing requirements were removed for indoor music venues.

But restrictions and closures were recently re-instated for those venues in response to concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant.


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