Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (212)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

212. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media further to Parliamentary Question No. 248 on 15 December 2020, if the review of the pilot music industry support package schemes promised in her response is currently underway; when it is due to be completed; and if she will publish the results of the review before deciding to continue the pilot. [8019/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Music Industry Support Package Schemes is under review. All successful awardees under the schemes being administered by FMC are required to provide outcome reports which are being furnished to my Department.

The schedule for completion of the work by the successful applicants has been impacted by COVID related restrictions and therefore the work for which the awards were allocated is not yet complete. It is my intention to compile the final review in a timely manner and the results will be published. MISP was a pilot initiative, which I introduced at a time of need when no such supports had previously been offered to the music industry and so the outcomes of these three pilot schemes are critical to informing any future support systems for the music industry.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (213)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

213. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if measures were taken beyond requesting a voluntary declaration by panellists to ensure no conflict of interest when adjudicating the music industry support package. [8020/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The names and biographies of all panellists were published on the FMC website in advance of the launch of the Music Industry Support Scheme. All panellists were required to declare a conflict of interest in any application, should one arise. Any panellist who did declare a conflict of interest was excluded from the relevant applicant's adjudication.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (214)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

214. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the amount of each music industry support package scheme that was paid respectively to a company and an organisation (details supplied), to public relations or communications companies and to artists. [8021/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Yangaroo is a music distribution company based in Dublin. I understand that it is the only company of its kind in Ireland available to the independent music sector which delivers songs to radio, press and industry from one portal.

When releasing music, it is important that artists are able to distribute as widely as possible. Distribution has a significant cost but is recognised as a vital cog in stimulating activity in the sector. Accordingly, I understand that First Music Contact (FMC), who is managing the Music Industry Stimulus Package on behalf of the Department, negotiated a favourable reduced rate with the company on behalf of all successful applicants to ensure wide distribution of the supported album releases.

The album release scheme for which €280,000 was awarded is the only scheme for which Yangaroo services were negotiated. I understand that to date, FMC has paid €14,000 for Yangaroo services on the basis of 28 redeemed vouchers of €500 each. As the remaining 28 album release awardees present vouchers for use of Yangaroo services, FMC will provide payment to that company. The total payment on this basis will not exceed €28,000.

The total paid to artists by way of grants for Songwriting Camps is €443,122 and the total paid to artists by way of grants for Album Recording is €897,102.53

The breakdown of the amount paid to individual public relations or communications companies out of those grants will be extracted and included in the final report by FMC to my Department but this is not available at this stage as not all activity under schemes has been completed owing to ongoing Covid restrictions.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (215)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

215. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media further to Parliamentary Question No. 253 of 15 December 2020, the definition of administrative error in her response; the way it was allowed to occur; the way the matter was investigated; and if she will publish the results of the investigation. [8022/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Music Industry Stimulus Package was managed on behalf of my Department by First Music Contact.

I am informed that the administrative error referred to in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 253 of 15 December 2020 , which involved a band being named as a successful applicant under the MISP Songwriting Scheme, was a simple human error, which arose as the band had been named in an application submitted by another individual.

I understand that the error only occurred when the results of successful awardees were being listed on the FMC website and band names were being selected for use rather than applicants' names for publishing purposes. Once the error was identified it was corrected and a public apology was issued by FMC to the band.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Question No. 217 answered with Question No. 206.

Questions (216)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

216. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason no open competition took place to select a body to manage the music industry support package. [8023/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I introduced the Music Industry Support Package (MISP) in 2020 to help meet the needs of the whole of the music sector in these unprecedented times. This was the first time this type of support was offered to the music industry and it was designed in a time of crisis and at short notice. to cover all music genres. It had three key components, song writing, album release and recording to ensure support across the wide range of talent working in the industry from creation to recording and promotion.

First Music Contact (FMC) is the lead national music organisation for resourcing musicians and the independent music sector in Ireland. My Department has a well established working relationship with FMC. As it is an organisation funded both by my Department for international promotion of musicians as well as by the Arts Council, FMC was considered to offer an effective way of administering the MISP. FMC has considerable experience in managing applications, and expert knowledge of the music sector, and my Department considered that it would be best placed to administer the Music Industry Stimulus Package in an efficient, timely and cost effective fashion, having regard to the immediate pressures being faced by the sector.

Question No. 217 answered with Question No. 206.

Covid-19 Paindéim

Questions (218, 219)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

218. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán ar labhair sí nó an tAire Stáit don Ghaeltacht agus Spórt, a bhfuil cúram orthu beirt i leith Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003, riamh leis an Taoiseach, atá freagrach as an bPlean maidir le Maireachtáil le Covid-19 agus na treoirlínte lena mbaineann, nó leis an Aire Sláinte, faoin moill dhíomách a bhaineann le faisnéis faoi shrianta agus comhairle Covid-19 trí Ghaeilge a cheartú. [8103/21]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

219. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán an bhfuil aon phlean curtha i bhfeidhm nó á ullmhú aici nó ag an Aire Stáit don Ghaeltacht agus Spórt, a bhfuil cúram orthu beirt i leith Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003, chun a chinntiú go bhfoilseoidh an Rialtas eolas faisnéise faoin bpaindéim agus faoi shrianta faoin bPlean maidir le Maireachtáil le Covid-19 go comhuaineach trí Ghaeilge agus Béarla amach anseo ar líne agus i gcló. [8104/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 and 219 together.

Ní mór dom a rá ar an gcéad dul síos gur ceisteanna iad seo don Aire Sláinte agus do Roinn an Taoisigh go príomha.

Tá dualgais dhíreacha ar gach comhlacht poiblí faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a chlúdaíonn eolas atá á thabhairt don phobal i gcoitinne (nó d’aicme den phobal), is iad sin:

- Alt 9(3) den Acht : I gcás ina ndéanfaidh comhlacht poiblí cumarsáid i scríbhinn nó leis an bpost leictreonach leis an bpobal i gcoitinne nó le haicme den phobal i gcoitinne chun faisnéis a thabhairt don phobal nó don aicme, cinnteoidh an comhlacht gur i nGaeilge, nó i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, a bheidh an chumarsáid.

- Alt 10(a) den Acht : Na doiciméid seo a leanas a fhoilsiú go comhuaineach i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla:

- aon doiciméad ina leagtar amach tograí beartais phoiblí.

Tuigfidh an Teachta gur gnó é d’Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar fheidhmiú Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 agus nach bhfuil aon ról agamsa mar Aire ann.

É sin ráite áfach, i gcomhthéacs cheisteanna an Teachta, tuigtear dom go bhfuil Roinn an Taoisigh agus an Roinn Sláinte tiomanta do chomhairle sláinte poiblí agus comhairle faoin bpaindéim go ginearálta a sholáthar i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla agus gurb iad príomhfhócas a gcuid fheachtas ná an chomhairle chuí a fhoilsiú ar shuíomh gréasáin an Rialtais agus póstaeir comhairle sláinte poiblí agus leabhráin faisnéise a chur amach. Ní mór a nótáil go mbíonn oifigigh mo Roinne i dteagmháil go rialta le hoifigigh i Roinn an Taoisigh agus sa Roinn Sláinte maidir le cúrsaí COVID agus an cumarsáid phoiblí a bhaineann leis.

I measc na mbearta atá idir lámha ag an dá Roinn sin chun freastal ar phobal na Gaeilge, tá:

- Suíomh gréasáin an Rialtais (www.gov.ie ) ina fhoinse faisnéise don phobal le linn na géarchéime seo agus déantar é a nuashonrú agus a aistriú go Gaeilge go rialta;

- An Leabhrán Faisnéise Poiblí COVID-19 a foilsíodh i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge agus póstaer dátheangach maidir le ‘Ní na Lámh’ a rinne An Post a sheachadadh chuig gach teaghlach sa tír; agus

- Ina theannta sin, cuireadh amach gach póstaer comhairle sláinte poiblí i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge agus roinneadh iad ar fud gach Roinn rialtais agus páirtithe leasmhara rialtais. Tá siad ar fáil freisin le híoslódáil ó shuíomh gréasáin an Rialtais (www.gov.ie ) sa dá theanga le haghaidh úsáide príobháidí agus tráchtála.

Mar fhocal scoir agus mar is eol don Teachta, tá plé á dhéanamh ar Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) ag Céim an Choiste i láthair na huaire agus is é aidhm an Bhille ná Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla a láidriú.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (220)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

220. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the financial supports available to a business (details supplied). [8139/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

My colleague the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has in place a range of business and financial supports available to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and these can be viewed at the following link https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/. This includes a new scheme called the COVID Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) which is aimed at those businesses who fall outside the eligibility requirements for CRSS.

Supports such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the CRSS will continue to be made available to those impacted. The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also available to help maintain people in jobs.

Primary support for the arts and the largely not for profit sector is delivered by the Arts Council. The Council have in place a number of new and enhanced funding programmes which have been introduced in response to COVID-19. In addition, the Council supports a number of resource and representative organisations to provide advice and information to artists within their given sector and many of these are providing support and advice online. Further information on these resource organisations can be accessed on the Arts Council website at the following link: http://www.artscouncil.ie/covid-19/information-and-resources/

Sports Funding

Questions (221)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

221. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if grant aid will be offered to a group (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8390/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Over 12,000 projects have now benefited from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to close to €1 billion.

It is open to any organisation, including the organisation referred to by the Deputy, with a suitable project to apply for funding under the 2020 Round of the Programme. However, while the closing date for applications is 1 March 2021, I should point out that the deadline for registration for potential applicants for this year's programme was 15th February.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (222)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

222. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if sports clubs and groups that are eligible for commercial rates are included in the Covid-19 business aid scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8392/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme is a matter for my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. His Department has confirmed that sports clubs and groups are not eligible for the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme.

Regarding support from my Department, a Covid-19 funding package of €85 million was provided last year to support the sport sector. This significant investment benefited all levels of the sport sector, including thousands of grassroots clubs across the country, and provided some certainty for sporting organisations in their planning for 2021.

In addition to funding allocated to National Governing Bodies of Sport to enable them to support their affiliated clubs, assistance was given to 1,637 clubs throughout the country as part of small grant schemes operated by Local Sports Partnerships. These schemes provided an additional mechanism to support community groups and clubs who may not be affiliated to a national organisation or recognised National Governing Body but who provide a vital local service.

I fully recognise that the financial and operational challenges associated with Covid-19 will continue well into 2021 and that many clubs will find themselves in financial difficulty again this year. Additional funding was allocated for Sport Ireland in Budget 2021 to continue to support our valued sport sector. This includes funding to provide for supports to the sector to meet the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisions in relation to how funding will be allocated and the criteria to be applied will be made by Sport Ireland in due course.

In that regard, Sport Ireland is in ongoing communication with the National Governing Bodies of sport and is assessing the financial needs of the sector for the year ahead. In addition. I am engaging with the National Governing Bodies both bilaterally and through the Covid-19 Sports Monitoring Group, which met most recently on 28 January, in regard to any supports which may be required in the period ahead.

Sport and Recreational Development

Questions (223)

Steven Matthews

Question:

223. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if his attention has been drawn to a public liability scheme that has been adopted in the UK that offers insurance to those involved in horse walking trails on public and private land that indemnifies land owners against potential liabilities; and if he will consider engaging with Sport Ireland, Horse Sport Ireland and other relevant bodies to discuss the merits of implementing a similar scheme here. [8411/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Sport Ireland is tasked with the development of trail criteria and best practices along with maintaining the National Trails Register. Sport Ireland is currently undertaking a project to review and update the Horse Trail criteria for Ireland. The criteria will be the benchmark for the development of horse trails throughout the country ensuring that quality infrastructure is being developed to enable accessible, safe, and enjoyable trail riding opportunities. The criteria will also outline an appropriate system for the classification and grading of horse trails in line with international best practice. I am not aware of the detail of the scheme to which the Deputy refers but would be glad to discuss the matter in more detail with the Deputy.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (224, 228)

Seán Canney

Question:

224. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will put in place a Covid funding scheme for local newspapers similar to the scheme for local radio stations administered by the Broadcast Authority of Ireland sound and vision scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8437/21]

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Alan Dillon

Question:

228. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her plans to introduce funding supports for local newspapers; if further supports will be granted to local radio stations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8532/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 and 228 together.

A strong and independent media sector is central to our parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and to the provision of quality and impartial information, particularly in the context of COVID-19. I recognise the essential role that the print media plays in this regard and the particular value of local and regional newspapers in bringing communities together and sharing reliable and relevant local news. The production and publication of newspapers, journals and periodicals and the distribution of those publications has been listed as an essential service.

The sector faces a fall in revenue arising from the pandemic, but also longer term challenges as a result of changing patterns of media consumption, technology and shifts in advertising revenue.

As the Deputy will appreciate it is of particular importance in relation to media organisations to avoid any perception of Government interference or influence and the funding of newspapers is therefore a complex issue. I am however cognisant of the importance of this sector, and the financial issues which it currently faces.

Since I assumed formal responsibility for the media sector in September 2020, I have engaged in meeting key stakeholders including Newsbrands, Local Ireland and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Work is continuing to explore the issues arising, with a follow up meeting between my officials and the NUJ taking place on 3rd February and a further meeting with Local Ireland has been scheduled for Wednesday 17 February. In addition, the Government has put in place a range of supports for all businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are available to local newspapers.

Funding for local radio stations is provided through the Sound and Vision Scheme. This is a statutory scheme provided for under Part 10 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and largely funded by the television licence. It is limited by statute to audiovisual and sound media and is administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. There is no equivalent statutory scheme for the print sector and the BAI has no function in funding the print sector. On 27 January 2021 the BAI announced another €6.9m in supports which included €1.4m allocated by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to the BAI Broadcasting Fund in December 2020 for live music projects. This will assist in providing a platform for music industry professionals who would have predominately worked in the live music sector which has been severely impacted by Covid-19. It will allow for projects that will help musicians to connect with audiences through Television and Radio. A further round of €2.5m was announced recently for the independent radio sector and further rounds will follow later in year and the BAI will announce these as they arise. This funding is on top of the supports already put in place in 2020. Further information is available at: https://www.bai.ie/en/broadcasting/funding-development-3/sound-vision-4/

In recognition of these longer term challenges facing the sector, the Programme for Government provided for the establishment of the Future of Media Commission to consider the future of print, broadcast, and online media in a platform agnostic fashion. The Commission, chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, recently concluded a public consultation to which a number of stakeholders in the print sector have made submissions. The Commission is currently in the process of engaging with key stakeholders in a series of thematic dialogues. I look forward to receiving the Commission's Report on the completion of its work which will inform media policy, including print media, over the next 10 years.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (225)

Alan Dillon

Question:

225. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if there will be a further round of a support scheme (details supplied); if so, when it is likely to open for applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8440/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

An allocation of €50 million was made in Budget 2021 for the live performance sector. It is envisaged that the rollout of this funding would include measures such as a grant scheme along the lines of the pilot "Live Performance Support Scheme."

Officials in my Department have gained valuable insights from this scheme and will apply these learnings when allocating funding this year. Other measures are also under consideration including those which have emerged from engagement with the sector and with stakeholders. This engagement is ongoing and it is hoped that further details and decisions will be announced shortly.

Television Licence Fee

Questions (226)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

226. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will examine allowing the television licence to be paid in instalments even for those just paying online in order that it could be an option in supporting persons in paying for the licence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8501/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

An Post is the issuing agent for the TV Licence Fee collection under Section 145 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and as such has set out a number of payment options which include online, in the post office, by phone, using saving stamps available at the post office and at post point outlets.

There are currently four payment options by direct debit which allow the cost of the licence to be paid in installments over the year: annually, bi-annually, quarterly or monthly. Details on how to set up a direct debit can be found at the following link: http://www.anpost.ie/AnPost/MainContent/Personal+Customers/More+from+An+Post/TV+Licence/TV+Licence+Direct+Debit.htm

Covid-19 Pandemic

Question No. 228 answered with Question No. 224.

Questions (227)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

227. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she met with representatives of the wedding industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on weddings and the supports needed for businesses involved in the sector; and if not, when she plans to do so. [8516/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Weddings are an important source of income for some businesses in the tourism sector such as hotels, and I meet with them on a regular basis, but many enterprises involved in weddings such as florists, bakers, hairdressers etc. would not fall under my remit.

In this regard to supports, hotels are eligible for a range of supports most particularly the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Covid Restrictions Support Schemes. In regard to other businesses, the Tánaiste recently announced that the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes designed to help with fixed costs. As part of this scheme, businesses such as wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies among others down 75% or more in turnover will benefit from the scheme. Officials in my Department have also recently met with the Wedding Bands Association, as part of the ongoing engagement with the live performance sector.

Question No. 228 answered with Question No. 224.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (229)

Joe McHugh

Question:

229. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if consideration will be given to a special one off support for new businesses (details supplied) that were still developing their product at the onset of Covid-19 and were expecting to trade in early 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8616/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The July Stimulus and Budget 2021 provided a significant package of tax and fiscal measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. The measures introduced have been critical in assisting businesses to survive the hugely challenging situation brought about by the pandemic.

As part of these measures a COVID-19 funding package of €85 million was provided by my Department last year to support the sport sector. €2.83 million of this funding package was allocated to Golf Ireland and funding for individual golf clubs is being delivered directly by Golf Ireland through COVID-19 grant programmes for affiliated clubs. While I understand that the closing date for grant applications has passed, the club mentioned by the Deputy may wish to contact Golf Ireland to see if it can assist in any way.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (230, 235, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242)

Dara Calleary

Question:

230. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if a local authority can submit multiple applications up to the maximum of €250,000 or just one single application to that value in relation to the reimagining our outdoor public spaces scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8629/21]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

235. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason the decision was made not to use the €15 million proposed for the two-year outdoor public space scheme to pay artists and performers who are without work for almost a year and need funding to survive and to perform in existing cultural spaces. [8822/21]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

237. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if funding for the outdoor public space scheme is entirely new funding; if not, if funding will come from an existing budgetary allocation under the vote for her Department; and if so, the budgetary allocation concerned. [8824/21]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

238. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason the features of the outdoor public space scheme will require local authorities to consult with Fáilte Ireland on the proposed project but includes no requirement to consult with the local community in the case of each project before it is developed to ensure local imagination and the local creative and cultural needs are at the heart the scheme; and if local consultation will be included as a feature. [8825/21]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

239. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason for the decision in February 2021 to announce funding only for reimagining outdoor public spaces at a time when existing indoor venues are struggling; and her views on whether supporting existing venues and events workers should be a priority. [8826/21]

View answer

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

240. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason the features of the outdoor public space scheme will require local authorities to consult with Fáilte Ireland on the proposed project but includes no requirement to consult with experts and professionals from the events industry; and if a commitment will be given to ensuring events industry professionals are consulted in all projects aimed at making public spaces more suitable for holding events. [8827/21]

View answer

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

241. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if a cost-benefit analysis was conducted into the outdoor public space scheme before funding was announced; and if so, if the result of such analysis will be published. [8828/21]

View answer

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

242. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason the decision was made to respond to recommendation 9 of the report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce by ignoring its recommendations to also provide support to indoor cultural spaces and to establish a regional project fund and privately operated venues fund; and if she also plans to deliver on these recommendations. [8829/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 230, 235 and 237 to 242, inclusive, together.

I announced the pilot Outdoor Public Space Scheme 2021 last week. The genesis of the scheme is Recommendation No 9 of Life Worth Living - the Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force.

The Scheme as advertised provides that a local authority can apply for a capital grant of up to €250,000 for a single project at a funding rate of up to 90%.

The pilot scheme was developed in consultation with the local authority County and City Managers Association, as the Local Authorities are best placed to understand the individual needs of the communities they serve.

The scheme is intended to fund local authorities to adapt, equip or otherwise improve public spaces for cultural and events activities, taking account of public health guidelines and of the needs of the local arts community. Outdoor public spaces that can provide year-round use can improve wellbeing and contribute positively to the public realm. The support will allow each local authority to adapt, equip or otherwise improve public spaces for cultural and events activities. The new scheme will take account of public health guidelines and of the needs of local arts and entertainment communities. Ideally projects will respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19 and support the recovery of the creative, cultural, entertainment and events sector as well as being future-proofed from a health and safety perspective.

The Public Spending Code requires cost benefits analyses to be completed for projects over €20m and as this scheme will not reach that threshold, such an analyses was not therefore required. The scheme is designed to deliver speedy results in order to support live performances as soon as it is safe to do so, and within any potential future restrictions on outdoor events.

Funding for the scheme will be delivered from within existing resources of the Department. It will not come from the allocation of €50 million made in Budget 2021 for the live performance sector. It is however part of a comprehensive suite of measures to support the cultural sector in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector. It is also designed to align with similar schemes being developed by Fáilte Ireland to address infrastructure for outdoor dining. These initiatives have significant potential to enhance the public realm in local authority areas. They link to the wider work of the Night Time Economy Taskforce and will potentially contribute to the longer term regeneration of cities and towns across the country.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (231)

Alan Dillon

Question:

231. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the breakdown of the Fáilte Ireland adaption grant; the number of applicants that applied by county; the number of grants that were successfully processed; the number that were declined; the number that are still outstanding pending further information; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8639/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The COVID-19 Adaptation Fund for tourism businesses is administered by Fáilte Ireland and I have referred the Deputy's question to them for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (232)

Alan Dillon

Question:

232. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will consider a real-time voucher scheme as an alternative to the stay and spend scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8640/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Stay & Spend Scheme commenced on 1 October 2020. Its purpose was to provide targeted support to businesses within the hospitality sector impacted by continued restrictions.

The Stay and Spend scheme was devised at a time when there appeared to be a steady downward trend in infection rates and there was an expectation that the re-opening of the economy could be sustained uninterrupted. Public health restrictions have had the effect of impeding the operation of the scheme as originally envisaged.

The Scheme is due to operate until 30 April but flexibility exists for the Minister for Finance to extend its operation in 2021 beyond that date. The Government will monitor how matters develop over the coming months and the role that the scheme might play, and consider if any changes need to be made.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (233)

Alan Dillon

Question:

233. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the steps taken by her Department regarding each recommendation reported in the report of the Tourism Recovery Task Force in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8641/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

In line with a recommendation in the Tourism Recovery Plan drawn up by the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, I appointed a Recovery Oversight Group in December 2020. The purpose of the Group is to oversee the implementation of the Recovery Plan produced by the Tourism Recovery Taskforce and monitor the sector’s recovery from the COVID crisis.

Earlier this week the Recovery Oversight Group presented its first report to me, setting out progress to date and areas it has identified as requiring attention. It also produced a report setting out progress to date with the implementation of recommendations in the Recovery Plan. These reports can be accessed on www.gov.ie/tourismrecoverytaskforce .

Fáilte Ireland

Question No. 235 answered with Question No. 230.

Questions (234)

Alan Dillon

Question:

234. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media when Fáilte Ireland will announce its plan to disburse funding of €55 million in business continuity funding to support strategic tourism businesses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8642/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The tourism business continuity scheme for strategic businesses for the tourism sector is administered by Fáilte Ireland and opened for applications on Thursday 11th February.

I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for further details on the scheme. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Question No. 235 answered with Question No. 230.