THISISPOPBABY express disappointment with Government Covid-19 plan for Ireland's artists

The production company shared on social media their disappointment with a scheme which was announced in response to the pandemic.

A middle aged woman dressed in white with a bob haircut speaks at a government podium
Image: Leon Farrell

During these days of social isolation and necessary lockdown, people are more reliant on the entertainment industry than ever, which is why Irish LGBT+ artists are hitting back against a Government-announced Covid-19 arts stimulus package they feel does a huge disservice to the industry.

On Friday, Minister for Culture, Josepha Madigan announced a €1 million fund for artists to make work which would then be available for free on Facebook and online. While the €1 million may be eye-catching, this actually boils down to €3,000 per award for 334 artists across all arts disciplines, not to mention those who won’t be rewarded in the competitive field.

It also fails to take into account creatives, such as lighting designers or stage managers, who can’t make work suitable for online. What do they do as they struggle financially? Artists in receipt of the Covid-19 social welfare payment are also not able to apply for the fund.

THISISPOPBABY, the LGBT+ production company who saw both their Where We Live festival, and the Irish Eurovision entry they worked on as creative directors both cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, shared on social media their disappointment with the announcement.

They stated their “utter dismay” that the “output-focussed online content creation schemes are “not applicable to, or appropriate for, many artists.”

“We believe these measures are not consummate with the relief being shown to other industries,” they follow.

They also called on “the Arts Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Culture Ireland and Creative Ireland to redirect, or match, at a minimum, the €1M funding for these schemes to much needed bursaries, commissions, research and training.”

The National Campaign for the Arts released its own statement expressing that it was “extremely disappointed.” It continued, “We are dismayed by the lack of vision shown in relation to the arts…This announcement goes nowhere near addressing the fears and concerns of the arts community in Ireland.”

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