Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (291)

Cormac Devlin


291. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the details of all meetings she has had with her officials to deal with the future of the circus industry here; the details of support provided to the sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29251/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Tourism)

Circus has a long tradition in Ireland, incorporating classical or traditional circus and contemporary circus. Both strands are valued artistically, with classical circus having a long working history in Ireland, while contemporary circus practice is relatively new. The Arts Act 2003 cites circus as one of nine art forms. As an art form, circus attracts high audience numbers each year including many rural audiences and members of new communities.

The live events sector has been impacted by Covid-19. There were some drive-in traditional circuses last year, which shows once again the innovation of the arts sector. Government support for circus as an art form is channelled through the Arts Council.  Primary support for the arts, including circus, is delivered through the Arts Council which is a statutory agency under the Arts Act 2003. Funding for the Arts Council has increased steadily in recent years, reaching a record level of €130 million this year. Under the Arts Act 2003, the Arts Council is independent in its funding decisions.

The tables below show the Arts Council support for circus and for traditional circus.

Table 1: Arts Council total allocation to Circus, Street Arts and Spectacle 2019 – 2021





Strategic Funding




Arts Grants Funding























Table 2: Arts Council allocation to Traditional Circus 2020

Duffy’s Circus Awarded:  2020 - Arts Grant Funding - Circus


Circus Gerbola Awarded: 2020 - Capacity Building Support Scheme - Circus


The strategic context for the Council's support of circus and all other art forms is set out in its strategy Making Great Art Work: Arts Council Strategy 2016-2025.  The Arts Council supports both strands of circus and, through direct support and strategic intervention, engages with the sector to assist individuals and organisations to develop high-quality performance and participatory work. Circus is supported by the Arts Council by way of grants under a range of categories including bursary, strategic funding, project awards and touring and dissemination awards.  There were very significant increases in supports provided for the circus in 2020 and 2021, with over €2.2 million allocated to circus, street arts and spectacle in 2021. The council makes awards to circus organisations and to individual circus artists. In 2020, many circus artists also qualified for the council’s Covid-19 crisis response award.  Details of all grants are available on the Arts Council’s website.

While there are enterprise supports available for businesses and individuals impacted by Covid-19, these are matters for my colleague, the Tánaiste, in his role as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, as are the criteria for their eligibility. The Government has worked to support businesses through this difficult time with a comprehensive range of measures for firms of all sizes. The measures include the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities, the waiver of commercial rates the Sustaining Enterprise Fund and a reduced VAT rate from 13.5% to 9% for the hospitality and tourism sector to help businesses in the entertainment, tourism and hospitality sectors.