February 23, 2021
Musicians will lose their homes unless Minister Martin acts now – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the government to provide sufficient supports for musicians and entertainment workers as an industry survey shows over 20% struggle to repay mortgages and nearly 60% can’t pay their bills.

The survey carried out by the Music and Entertainment Alliance of Ireland, which represents over 4,000 workers, also shows 39% are finding it hard to repay business loans and 20% of workers in the sector have had to seek help for mental health issues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said the neglect of musicians and entertainment workers is “nothing short of a scandal”. He reiterated Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget proposal from October that immediate hardship funding be provided to make sure workers in the sector can keep up with mortgage repayments and keep a roof over their heads.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“It is a damning indictment of this government’s attitude to workers that while those in Germany, Spain, and Italy have been able to avail of mortgage breaks of up to 12 months, workers here continue to struggle.

“The fact that the government has extended the deadline to apply for local authority mortgage payment breaks is welcome and shows that they know there’s a problem, but nothing is being done to support people who have borrowed directly from banks and financial institutions.

“This hardship is felt in all sectors, but musicians and those working in the entertainment industry in particular have been left behind, and despite big announcements like the €50 million for live events, months have gone by and not a cent has trickled down to those most in need. That €50 million could be used as a hardship fund right away, as live events look less and less likely to recommence in the coming months.

“Many arts workers are ineligible for the business supports that were announced in the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and Covid-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS), and musicians have been left fighting over scraps in the Music Industry Stimulus Package (MISP) and Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS); much of which depended on an industry reopening that never happened.

“The impact of this neglect on mental health cannot be overstated. If we really care about our music and culture and want to see the industry return when restrictions finally allow, we need to ensure there is an industry left to reopen. Minister Catherine Martin needs to act now to ensure no musician loses their home on her watch.”

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