Minister Catherine Martin has had her request to join the Covid-19 Cabinet sub-committee rejected this morning.
The minister for Tourism, Arts, The Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media was denied her request to join the key meeting of government officials but will be able to join a similar meeting next week.
According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, the government will put in place a “clear roadmap” for the live events sector by the end of the month.
“Before the end of the month…”
Speaking with Phillip Boucher Hayes on RTÉ’s Today, Mr Coveney said they are “rightly demanding certainty and timelines… and we will be able to give them that before the end of the month.”
Minister Martin’s attempts to join the committee come after concerns that the plight of the live events industry is not being taken seriously by other party leaders.
Although her meeting yesterday with industry representatives opened with an impassioned speech on her support for the live entertainment industry, those who attended believe it was “just not good enough.”
Dan MacDonnell, speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland said attendees “feel sorry for Catherine Martin and the position that she’s in,” but remain deeply disappointed. MacDonnell, a spokesperson for the Event Industry Alliance, said, “there’s no progress being made” despite Ms Martin’s attempts.
Although Minister Martin is not part of the sub-committee, industry leaders are pushing for her to join by contacting party leaders. “Minister Martin should be allowed to sit on that sub-committee and influence and be there when those decisions are being made on the reopening of the sector,” said MacDonnell.
In response to the lack of clarity and care being shown by party leaders, live entertainment leaders vocalised their unhappiness with current communication.
Mark O’Brien, Executive Director at the Abbey Theatre, took to Twitter with, “this is a matter of great urgency not alone for the arts and those who work in this industry but for the greater good of our nation, one that was built with artists at the heart of what we strive to be.”
The live event industry is worth €3.5 billion to the Irish economy and employs over 35,000 people. Despite this, neither Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, nor Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly attended yesterday’s meeting on reopening. Instead opting to send their representatives.
Meetings will take place next week again between industry representatives and government officials before a roadmap is planned to be published in September. Yet, this roadmap is coming too late for some. With the prospect of reductions in PUP on the way from September also, the live event industry remains without much protection or clarity for what happens next.