10th April 2020 | Arts, Coronavirus, Press Releases

Real supports needed to help artists through Covid-19 crisis, say Green Party Councillors

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Green Party Dublin City Councillors Claire Byrne and Donna Cooney are today supporting the call by the National Campaign for the Arts for a broader range of measures to better support artists, art workers and art organisations in the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.

Councillor Claire Byrne, a long-time advocate for artists and the creative industries, said: “While I feel the Government’s response to Covid-19 in relation to the arts was well-intentioned, I think it’s clear the measures announced last week didn’t go far enough. Our nation is connecting culturally online through TV and film, audio books, virtual museums, online children’s creative activities etc, so it is right to consider how we can digitise our own creative culture at this time, as many other countries are doing. But it has to be done right, with significant funding and without barriers, to ensure our creative community can survive this crisis along with every other sector. This includes ensuring that we protect artists’ workspaces and that the new spaces we have been working on in Dublin City Council are delivered.”

Councillor and practicing artist Donna Cooney said the government should listen to artists: “On Wednesday I participated in a Zoom meeting held by the National Campaign for the Arts and attended by over 380 people. Artists expressed the enormous and varied difficulties they are facing due to the Covid-19 crisis – projects on hold, no access to studios, huge uncertainty in an already precarious profession. Simply put, artists were not happy with the initial proposals announced by the Minister a week ago, and there was broad agreement that any solution needs to put artists at the centre and start with proper consultation. The online survey being conducted by the Arts Council on the impacts of Covid-19 is very welcome, and I would encourage all artists to fill this out before the extended closing date of Tuesday, April 14th.”

She adds: “At Wednesday’s meeting, there was overwhelming support for the introduction of a universal basic income, which would not only give security to artists but to others, including entrepreneurs, the self-employed, and carers. This has long been a policy of the Green Party and maybe now is the time to finally bring about this change in our social welfare system, to make us more resilient against future crises.”