Events Sector Criticises Conflicting Government Advice

20 Aug 2020 | 12.10 pm

Events Sector Criticises Conflicting Government Advice

Trade body EPIC seeks measures to save industry

20 Aug 2020 | 12.10 pm

Events industry organisation EPIC wants definitive guidance from government, saying conflicting messages have created confusion for businesses in the sector.

EPIC is calling for the establishment of a state task force, to include industry experts, “to protect a €1.7 billion industry from total decimation”.

The organisation slammed the government for conflicting and mixed messages over the last few days. A statement said: “Thursday’s announcement still gives no clarity on live spaces such as music venues or outdoor professionally organised events. Many professional event organisers are still unsure if they can run small shows in August and early September as planned. 

“The industry has been in limbo over the last number of weeks and the government’s lack of consistency in guidance is having untold negative impact on both the sector and the public.”

The statement went on to detail the conflict:

• Tuesday August 18, 5.30pm — Taoiseach Micheál Martin announces no more than 6 people indoors allowed and 15 people outdoors.

• Wednesday August 19, 8.00am – senator Malcolm Byrne says live events are exempt and can have 50 people indoors and 200 outdoors.

• Wednesday August 19, 6.00pm – minister Stephen Donnelly says no live events are allowed, and only 6 people allowed indoors and 15 people outdoors.

• Thursday August 20, 11.00am – government announcement that live events can run in theatres for 50 people, but still no clarity on live entertainment venues.

The organisation estimates that this year will see a 90% decline in revenue in the sector, with serious effects on the incomes of the more than 25,000 events and arts workers affected by the closedown. 

The statement lists EPIC’s demands:

  • Establish a cross-departmental task force on the live events sector. It is now imperative that the government bring this to fruition so that the voices of the commercial live events sector can be heard if there is to be any chance of saving this sector.
  • Extension of the full PUP across the live events sector until the mass gathering ban and social distancing restrictions are lifted and the industry can get back to work.
  • A multiple of the grant funding given to the Arts Council to support artists, arts workers and arts organisations must now be invested in the commercial live events sector, which accounts for 90% of all ticket sales in Ireland and has never before received any grant funding from government.

Photo: NPHET’s crazy lockdown has prevented c.3,500 pubs from trading for five months. Among the affected family businesses is Moynihan’s Bar in Donard, Co Wicklow. Pictuered are pub owners Anna Clarke Moynihan with her husband Paul and their dog Lexi. (Pic: Conor McCabe)


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