‘A plan for the arts?’

Sir, – My thanks to Una Mullally for writing and The Irish Times for publishing "A plan for the arts?" (Opinion & Analysis, August 23rd). I write as someone who has played music in public for 66 years, who has been a member of bands with number-one singles (Real McCoy 1969 and 1971), number one albums (Moving Hearts 1981, 1982 and 1984), and Ireland's first jazz album (Noel Kelehan Quintet's "Ozone", 1980). I was also chair of the Irish Music Rights Organisation for nine years.

I am one of 16,000 people in the music business who has not been able to work for 18 months.

Una Mullally is right: we have been almost totally ignored by Government, possibly because we don’t have a lobby group in Leinster House.

This despite the fact that our industry is a big contributor to tax revenues, to national morale and to the international view of Ireland.


Ask anyone in the street abroad what comes to mind when they think of Ireland and a big percentage will start with U2 or Riverdance.

Come the next election, I can’t imagine any of those 16,000 people, their families, friends and relations voting for parties that have committed such a cowardly error of judgment. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – So many of us love sport and being part of supporting our county teams in a stadium full of people. But there is a major mixed message in seeing the Artane Band being able to play to a stadium of 40,000 hurling fans last Sunday in Croke Park, when if they were there to perform for a non-sporting event in the same stadium, the maximum audience allowed would be 500.

The level of unfairness in this is blatant, utter nonsense and a major insult to all those employed in the live music and wider arts industry. This industry has and is suffering severely from Covid-19 restrictions.

The Government needs to stop the inconsistencies in what is allowed across different industries and sectors as this dilutes the credibility of Covid rules and guidelines.

Answers are urgently required about this, as it is very clear the level of unfairness created by such decisions.

It is imperative that clarity is given to all involved in the music and wider arts industry, and a definite date set for them to return to work. – Yours, etc,





Sir, – At the same time as I played with the Glasshouse band to an audience restricted to 200 on Sunday in the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham, the Artane Band was entertaining 40,000 in Croke Park. I wonder can we now book Croke Park for our next concert? – Yours, etc,