Ireland Introduces Basic Income Program for Artists and Culture Workers Impacted by the Pandemic

The Arts

Ireland has introduced its first basic income program for the nation’s artists and culture workers, offering sorely needed relief for a sector hit hard by the pandemic. On January 6, Catherine Martin, the Irish Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, opened an online consultation to solicit opinions and proposals on the development of the pilot program. In a statement, Martin described it as a “once-in-a-generation policy intervention.”

“I am determined to ensure that permanent damage is not done to the arts sector from the pandemic and that the basic income pilot scheme helps to ensure that the arts in Ireland come back stronger than ever,” she added.

The government has allocated €25 million ($28.3 million) to be distributed among two thousand arts and culture workers and venues over three years. The online consultation closes January 27, while the program is expected to launch later this year, with an exact date forthcoming. The basic income pilot was the leading recommendation of a task force assembled by Martin in 2020 to devise solutions to the financial fallout in the arts from the coronavirus. The initial report from the committee suggested an allotment of €10.50 ($11.90) per hour to selected arts workers.

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