A basic income for artists


Sir, – I agree wholeheartedly with Brian O’Brien’s suggestion in his letter of January 27th that “unfettered capitalism” is a bad thing for society.

However, leaving aside his apparently equal distaste for “the most extreme socialism” of a temporary basic income trial for approximately 2,000 workers from a single sector, it should be noted that the artistic tax exemption is currently capped at €50,000 per individual in any one year.

That amount, hardly a king’s ransom when compared with the average industrial wage of €40,500 per annum, is subject to USC and PRSI at the normal rates. Factor in that many artists earn far below that cap on bad years (years without a book publication, art exhibition, album release, etc), and that there’s no provision for income averaging over the bad and good years, it appears that some fetters do appear to be in place. –Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.