Artists to receive €325 every week in pilot basic income scheme

The scheme is to open for applications on April 12th and artists will be selected at random.
Artists to receive €325 every week in pilot basic income scheme

By Cate McCurry, PA

A new scheme will see 2,000 artists given a basic income of €325 per week, after plans were approved by the Government.

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme was launched by ministers on Tuesday.

The scheme is to open for applications on April 12th and artists will be selected at random.

They will receive the payment over three years.

The move comes after the project was recommended by the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force.

The scheme is set to cost €35 million a year.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland’s history and national story has been “intertwined and enhanced” by the arts.

“Our most ancient and iconic artefacts are extraordinary in their artistry, and throughout the world to this day the very notion of Irishness is inextricable from our traditions of poetry, storytelling, and expression through music,” Mr Martin said.

“Over the course of the pandemic and within the limits of the public health measures put upon all of our lives, they took on a new significance for many who may not have had the chance to appreciate them before.

“Our artists, writers and musicians had a particularly challenging time with venues closed and audiences kept away.

 

“But at this time of greatest challenge, their output and their value was never more highly prized.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “I believe it is a major policy innovation and I think it’s going to be one of those things that gets noticed overseas.”

Launching the scheme at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin’s Temple Bar, Mr Varadkar added: “To the artists here, I just want to say I know how hard the last two years must have been for many of you, our artists, our performers and our creators.

“This was a really cruel virus and is a cruel virus, and one that did so many things but among the things it did was shut down social contact and shut down normal cultural and artistic life.

“I’m sure during the pandemic everyone here, including me, drew some comfort from the arts during those difficult days of lockdown.

“We listened to music, read books, watched films and performances online and that engagement with the arts helped us to get through some dark days.

“It made life worth living.”

Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, said: “I believe that this scheme is the start of a fundamental change in the way Ireland supports and recognises artists and the arts community.

“For generations, Irish artists have inspired people all over the world, like our writers, playwrights and poets such as Seamus Heaney, James Joyce and Edna O’Brien to name but a few.”

Poet Stephen James Smith read a poem he had written about his father, while singer and musician Toshin performed for the ministers and audience.

Toshin thanked the ministers for the income support scheme, saying it will help her “make my dreams come true”.

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