August 5, 2021
“Safe reopening of arts sector must be a priority” -Chris MacManus MEP & Sorca Clarke TD visit Mullingar Arts Centre

“Safe reopening of arts sector must be a priority” -Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin’s Chris MacManus and Sorca Clarke visit Mullingar Arts Centre 

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus and Longford-Westmeath TD Sorca Clarke recently visited Mullingar Arts Centre and met with the centre’s director Sean Lynch to discuss the current challenges presented by the Covid pandemic. 

Speaking after the meeting MacManus said:

“It was a privilege to be welcomed to the beautiful Mullingar Arts Centre. A venue that is obviously the beating heart of the surrounding community. A community that has a rich tradition in the arts. Sorca and myself met with the Arts Centre’s director Sean Lynch and he confirmed some of our concerns regarding how the Arts sector is struggling during this time. There is a real sense that the creative community has been completely forgotten about. ”

“The arts sector in Ireland has been decimated since the pandemic began. Theatres, music venues, musicians and artists of all disciplines were among the very first to have their work halted and it seems now, they will also be the last to get the go-ahead to return to any kind of normality.”

MacManus highlighted the difficulties faced by many Arts Facilities throughout the region.

“The majority of Arts Centres in Ireland are ran on a shoestring budget and even one bad month can be very damaging to long term sustainability. To be defunct for seventeen months and counting is just devasting.”

“There is a definite anger on the ground around how the sector has been treated. Under-funding and overly bureaucratic application processes are common gripes as well as a lack of any tangible roadmap to the reopening of the sector. The Arts Community in Ireland are watching the recommencement of live arts events throughout Europe and further afield and are wondering why it hasn’t happened here in any meaningful way. It’s not acceptable how this sector has been treated.”

MacManus concluded, “The safe reopening of the arts sector is key and the government must stop dragging their feet. The Arts & Entertainment industry by promoting our culture, plays a key role in making Ireland what it is. We’d be a lesser nation without it. It’s time the government started treating the sector with the respect it deserves.”

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD also called for financial supports and for the government to publish a cleartimeline for reopening

The Sinn Féin TD said:

“It is inexcusable that after having months to plan, the government has provided no timeline for when this sector will be allowed to reopen, and no guidelines have been prepared on how to do so safely, while at the same time insisting it is safe to reopen schools in September.” 

“It is simply not right to push ahead with cuts to the pandemic unemployment payment upon which many in the industry rely, without giving them any sign of when they can get back to work, and we know that those in the performing arts education sector are among the worst hit and least supported. A plan for reopening is the least they deserve.” ENDS

From left to right, Sean Lynch (Arts Centre Director), Sorca Clarke TD (Sinn Féin), Sarah Nally (Head of Drama) & Chris MacManus MEP (Sinn Féin) at the Mullingar Arts Centre

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