The Irish government has opened a consultation on giving around 2000 musicians, actors, artists and performers a basic income of €10.50 (£8.75, US$11.90) per hour over the next three years.
The Arts and Culture taskforce was created by the Irish culture minister, Catherine Martin, to research and recommend ways in which the arts could best recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike the Westminster government’s top-down approach of supporting venues and businesses in the hope of trickle-down of income to freelancers, the Irish task force has recommended piloting a basic income scheme that would go directly to the artists themselves.
€25 million has been committed by the Irish Government to support the scheme, but its details will depend on the outcome of the consultation that takes place throughout January. This will decide the eligibility of different artists and the amounts they will be paid. Clearly, there are far more artists than 2000 in Ireland, so the decision about who receives the money will be a matter of fierce debate. If the selection process finds more artists eligible than the fund can support, there is the possibility of people being selected or rejected at random.
In Northern Ireland, approximately 1500 artists adversely affected by Covid rules were offered a £2000 payout in December as part of the Creative Individuals Recovery Programme. Almost 3000 creative individuals, including technicians, promoters and venue staff have received financial support over the last two years.
But the Irish Republic’s plan is future-facing to help performing artists rebuild their careers.
Photo: National Concert Hall, Dublin. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International Licence (image cropped)