Artists in Ireland are set to receive €325 per week (£270) as part of a new pilot scheme to support those in the arts.
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Under the scheme, around 2000 artists, actors and musicians will get a basic income of £270 a week. Musicians can apply for the funds from April 12 onwards.
The Irish government described it as “a transformative initiative for the arts and creative practice”.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that while artists had gone through a difficult period during the pandemic, “at this time of greatest challenge, their output was never more highly prized”.
He also said there was a need to invest in “that which sustains us”.
Martin added: “Without artists’ dedication to their practice we would be much poorer as a people, and this is what the basic income pilot scheme is about, the recognition of time spent on creative practice.”
The chair of National Campaign for the Arts, Angela Doran told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “I think today marks probably the most momentous indication of how Ireland values its artists, probably since, you know, the establishment of the Arts Council who celebrate their 70th birthday this year.”
The scheme was the main recommendation that came out of the report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, which was launched by Minister for the Arts, Catherine Martin in 2020.
Martin has described the scheme as a “watershed” moment for the arts, and added that people “leaned into the work of artists during times of need”, especially during the COVID pandemic (via Irish Times).
She added: “It is the arts that will help us make sense of what happened and help us shape the future.”
In the UK, there is no such similar help for artists. Back in November, UK charity Help Musicians reported that one in three musicians are still earning nothing since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted last summer.
They found that almost nine in 10 musicians were earning less than £1,000 per month, and 22 per cent were considering giving up music altogether. The charity also said 83 per cent of professional musicians have been unable to find regular work.
During the early months of the pandemic, a survey by the Musicians’ Union revealed that almost one-fifth of musicians were currently considering abandoning their careers because of a lack of support from the British Government.