Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin described the new grants for the performing arts sector as an effort “to keep the doors open.”
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Ms Martin said she understood that the 50 percent capacity rule, introduced to slow the spread of Covid-19, was not viable for the sector, which is why the new grants would be available from Friday, December 17.
The 50 million euros fund includes 2.5 million euros for seasonal events such as pantomimes, 5 million euros for “town hall performances” which will be paid via local authorities and 34 million euros in the form of a live performance support program for events that have had to be canceled, reduced or rescheduled, she explained.
The minister said the main grant would cover half the costs of events that need to be canceled or rescheduled.
The industry had assumed “a very heavy burden”, a fact of which she was well aware. “This is not where we want to be. These programs will help keep the doors open, ”she said.
“We are stepping in to help. We will provide grants of up to 50 percent of the costs. Ms. Martin added that 60 percent of the grants would be prepaid once it was determined that the event was eligible.
The minister said her “absolute goal” was to keep artists on stage.
It was important to bring certainty to the sector and the people it employed, she said, adding that there would be an additional € 14million from February to June for events to take place.