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Political pressure grows for live music roadmap by end of August

Simon Coveney said today that the sector would have more certainty soon.

Music fans and the industry remain unsure when live concerts and festivals will return.
Music fans and the industry remain unsure when live concerts and festivals will return.
Image: Niall Carson/PA

SIMON COVENEY HAS said that the Government will be in a position soon to provide certainty to the live music industry.

His comments came following a meeting between the Event Industry Alliance and Minister Catherine Martin yesterday to discuss restrictions on the entertainment sector. Afterwards, the Alliance said in a statement that it was “disappointed” following the meeting.

“The Government is very aware that it’s been extraordinarily stressful and difficult for them,” the foreign affairs minister said today.

“By the end of August, we will put a clear roadmap in place for the next stage.”

He said that the Government was aware the sector needed clarity for the future.

“We will be able give them that before the end of the month,” he said.

Earlier, Sinn Fein backed calls from the music industry for a clearer road map for the reopening of the sector.

Catherine Martin told a meeting of live entertainment representatives yesterday to lobby her Cabinet colleagues for support in the sector.

The meeting ended without a return date for live events agreed, and representatives of the industry left disappointed.

Sinn Fein TD Claire Kerrane said today it is “reasonable” for the music industry to seek a road map for the weeks ahead.

“It should be brought forward as soon as possible,” she said.

Kerrane contrasted the treatment of live music with the approach taken for other areas of the economy and society, namely sporting events.

“I really feel the sector at the moment is really disillusioned,” she said. “It remains the sector that is totally shut down.”

She said there is a clear “disparity” between the Government’s treatment of music and sport.

Kerrane told RTE radio: “All the arts and entertainment sector is looking for is the same thing.”

At yesterday’s meeting, Culture Minister Martin vented her frustration at the lack of progress on reopening plans, and at her unsuccessful attempts to be added to the Government’s Covid Cabinet sub-committee.

Martin, a Green Party TD, has asked to sit on the sub-committee for the next two key meetings.

events-sector-covid-support-scheme-launch Culture Minister Catherine Martin voiced frustration that she is not part of the Government’s Covid Cabinet sub-committee. Source: PA

Green Party leader and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan “is trying to get this over the line”, a Government source said.

A second meeting involving the music industry is to take place next Wednesday.

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Asked about Catherine Martin’s frustrations on RTE radio, Coveney said: “Nobody is blocking anything.”

“Every minister, I would expect, would like to be on the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid,” he said.

He noted that other senior ministers, such as education minister Norma Foley, were not on the sub-committee.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan were all invited to attend this week’s meeting but were unable to do so, sending officials instead.

Speaking this morning, Dan MacDonnell, from the Event Industry Alliance, said the sector was “deeply disappointed” by the meeting.

He said Martin should be allowed to sit on the Cabinet sub-committee, if that would help the industry make a louder case for reopening.

He told RTE: “We acknowledge the fact minister Catherine Martin took the time to meet with industry representatives. However, we were dismayed and deeply disappointed that Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly did not attend.

“We have tens of thousands of people on the side lines, waiting to come back to work.”

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