I propose to take Questions Nos. 1432 to 1435, inclusive, together.
In the context of the wider cultural sector, the Department has met and continues to meet with arts and cultural organisations under its aegis. My Department and the Arts Council are providing detailed advice for arts and arts organisations on their websites. Priority is being given towards supporting the artists and arts workers. These matters will receive further consideration in the context of the recovery phase.
Following a meeting I convened on 12 March with the Arts Council, the National Cultural Institutions and Screen Ireland, the Arts Council announced a series of immediate measures, including an undertaking to honour all funding commitments made to organisations and allow grantees to draw down up to 90% of their funding commitment. To facilitate this, my Department advanced payment of the annual allocation to the Arts Council. These measures were taken to ensure grantees could continue to operate and meet their financial commitments, particularly to individual artists. The measures provided much needed support to arts and cultural organisations and, more importantly, those working in the sector.
I announced measures on 3 April to enable artists and cultural workers to share their work through alternative channels and this included the Arts Council’s Covid-19 crisis response award, and the Ireland Performs grant from Culture Ireland and Facebook Ireland. The Covid-19 crisis response award of €3,000 per grantee supports the creation and dissemination of new artistic work for the public benefit and was jointly funded by the Arts Council and my Department.
The Arts Council is in daily contact with a broad range of artists and organisations to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the sector The Council continues to operate fully throughout the COVID-19 crisis to support artists and arts organisations through this difficult time. Regular updates are being provided on its website and on social media channel.
The Arts Council has based its response to Covid-19 on sectorial engagement which includes surveying, focus groups and other forms of interaction with funded and non-funded organisations and individual artists.
The Council has also undertaken a detailed survey of arts organisations to identify the impact on audiences, employment and finances for March, April and May as well as a survey of artists seeking information of the economic impact on individual artists.
The Department will continue to engage with the agencies under its remit and other sectorial stakeholders to ensure that there is the greatest level of awareness of the supports that have been made available by Government and to ensure that optimal use is made of available resources to best support the sector at this challenging time.
The Department has also engaged on a bilateral basis with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on social welfare supports, with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation on liquidity and other supports for businesses, and is engaged on an ongoing basis with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on all aspects of the impacts of the crisis on the sector.
More recently, officials form my Department met with commercial interests on the plans for reopening in line with the Government's Roadmap.