The Report of the "Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce" was published on the 17th November last. It made 10 recommendations.
While a some recommendations are under the remit of other Government Departments, I have made progress on a number of the Report's recommendations which relate to my Department.
In December, I put in place arrangements to implement Recommendation 6 which identified the need for the establishment of a programme that provides wellbeing support to the creative sector. My Department now provides funding for a wellbeing service for people working across all the creative sectors. Details are available at this link https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/3fb03-minister-martin-announces-funding-of-230000-for-the-expansion-of-the-minding-creative-minds-support-service-to-the-irish-creative-sector/.
Recommendation 8 identifies the need for a review of the treatment of cultural activities and venues under the various levels of the Plan for living with Covid-19 to better reflect actual circumstances. In December, in order to provide a research base on which to build progress a series of test-events were conducted in collaboration with the National Concert Hall and the Abbey Theatre. Due to the dramatic increase in the incidence of the disease, the Abbey Theatre test event had to be curtailed. Otherwise, however, the series proved very successful. In the meantime, my Department is drafting protocols for large events and will engage with stakeholders in advance of their finalisation.
Last week, I launched the Re-imagining our outdoor public spaces initiative which addresses Recommendation 9 to establish Re-imagining our Public Spaces: a capital improvement programme the details of which are available at this link https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/14d5d-re-imagining-our-outdoor-public-spaces/.
Recommendation 4 calls for the introduction of a Business Supports Grant Scheme for SMEs in the events industry that are excluded from the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme. This recommendation is to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, who has recently announced the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme which targets businesses currently ineligible for CRSS and other sector specific grants. Details are available at this link https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/94496-government-160m-boost-to-covid-19-business-grants.
The remaining recommendations remain under consideration and it is anticipated that further progress will be made in respect of the recommendations of the Task Force over the coming months.