Sherlock expresses frustration at lack of progress on Live Entertainment Fund
Labour Party Spokesperson on Arts & Culture Senator Marie Sherlock has expressed her frustration at the absence, five months on from Budget 2021, of any detail or clarity from the Department of Arts, Culture, Media, Sport in relation to the €50 million Live Entertainment Fund which had been announced to support the arts, culture & live events sector.
Senator Sherlock raised the issue in the Seanad on Friday in an exchange with Minister of State Ossian Smyth. Starting by commending much of the positive work done in 2020 to support artists faced with unprecedented challenges, she took the Government to task for its failure to outline any details of the Live Entertainment Fund, to the detriment of artists’ ability to plan and face into 2021 with certainty.
While Minister Smyth told the House that he envisaged a grant scheme being instituted to implement the allocation of money from the fund, Sherlock highlighted the lack of new information in his response.
Senator Sherlock said:
“There’s really no excuse for this delay. Those working in the arts & culture sector need to be able to plan, at at time when we still aren’t sure when their livelihoods will be able to return to a stable footing. Many are facing the double trauma currently of being both excluded from accessing existing business supports, while simultaneously having no certainty as to the final shape that this €50 million fund will take.
“It’s important to highlight also the fact that we are dealing with a number of issues related to the broad issue of non-rateable businesses being excluded from many of the main business supports, for instance the CRSS and the new CBAS. It’s remarkable to me that in 21st century Ireland we can’t find a better way to determine eligibility for these schemes than having a shop-front, when we know of the thousands of businesses out there that operate from the back rooms of homes. Why we couldn’t use the payment of VAT as the determining criterion is beyond me, but I am hopeful of changes being introduced in the area, as attention has turned to the topic increasingly in recent weeks.”