Arts Council and equal pay for equal work

 

Sir, – Orlaith McBride asserts that I made “a complaint of bias” with regard to a recent Arts Council panel decision is misrepresentative. ( Letters. July 30th).

I made no such complaint.

I turned down a commission from the Cork Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland that was funded by the Arts Council because to accept would have meant accepting less than equal pay for equal work.

I have no doubt at all that the independent panel involved would have done its best to distribute the funds as fairly as possible and would possibly have been unaware that the amount offered to me was less than what my male colleagues received in previous years.

The fault lies in the structure of these awards which has resulted in a significant gender pay gap in all of the music awards in recent years. The Arts Council would have had access to the funding history, which showed this pay discrepancy. It was then ratified by the Arts Council.

It’s at these points that the unequal payment could have been addressed.

Neither the Arts Council, nor the two arts council funded organisations involved, have to date offered the 20 per cent more needed to make the payment equitable.

I did not make this decision lightly, nor to score points.

Had I been offered equal pay, I would currently be composing the piece I very much wanted to compose, instead of defending a decision I should never have had to make in the first place. – Yours, etc,

SIOBHÁN CLEARY,

Boyle,

Co Roscommon.