Cabinet to discuss basic income scheme for arts and culture sector

Footfall in Dublin museums less than 10% of what it would normally be for the summer months

There are more than 200 museums on the island of Ireland, attracting eight million visitors each year and directly employing 1,500 staff and 1,000 full-time volunteers. Photograph: Getty Images

There are more than 200 museums on the island of Ireland, attracting eight million visitors each year and directly employing 1,500 staff and 1,000 full-time volunteers. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Cabinet is to discuss proposals this week for a basic income scheme for the arts and culture sector.

A three-year pilot of a universal basic income scheme which would see artists receive a weekly payment should be introduced, a report into how the sector can deal with the challenges posed by Covid-19 has recommended.

Artists would receive the payment in addition to other income. The suggestion has been made by the Government’s Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce .

The report is expected to be presented at Cabinet this week by the Minister for Arts Catherine Martin.

The programme for government agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party commits to trying a universal basic income scheme for those in the sector within the next five years.

Meanwhile, footfall in Dublin museums was down to 7 per cent to 10 per cent of what would be normal for the summer months, a group representing the sector has said in a submission seeking a changed attitude towards opening museums in the context of the pandemic.

Confidence in the sector has been undermined by the current policy in relation to the closure of museums, according to the Irish Museums Association.

Not a single case of Covid has been traced back to an Irish museum, according to the association. This is in line with trends across Europe, it said.

The association has made a submission to the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce looking for immediate assistance.

It is planning to write to Ms Martin seeking a reassessment as soon as possible of the policy of closing museums at Level 3 of the Government’s strategy for combating Covid-19. It wants an additional fund of €1.6 million as a “stabilisation package” for small/regional museums in the State for 2021.

Heritage organisations

In Northern Ireland a fund of €5.5 million has been announced for heritage organisations.

There are more than 200 museums on the island, attracting eight million visitors each year and directly employing 1,500 staff and 1,000 full-time volunteers.

The Irish Museums Association would like to see a more “nuanced approach”, especially in relation to Level 3, with museums being permitted to remain open with enhanced measures for combatting the virus, such as contact tracing systems or temperature checks.