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MEAI Spokesperson Appeals For Supports For Entertainment Sector

Published on Nov 24 2021 8:07 AM in Features tagged: Featured Post / Nphet / Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme / Pandemic Unemployment Payment / PUP / EWSS / Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland / MEAI / National Public Health Emergency

MEAI Spokesperson Appeals For Supports For Entertainment Sector

A spokesperson for the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) has appealed directly to the Taoiseach to intervene and introduce supports for the entertainment sector.

MEAI Spokesperson Statements

As reported by rte.ie, speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime radio programme, MEAI spokesperson Matt McGranaghan called for the immediate reinstatement of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), or an equivalent support, for those in the music industry who were forced off the payments in the past couple of months.

McGranaghan reportedly said, "We're directly appealing to an Taoiseach to intervene, to give us support and show us leadership for the industry, to help save the industry and especially to help to save Christmas for a lot of people because that is a major concern at the moment for a huge amount of workers."

McGranaghan reportedly said that the industry has seen "a flooding of cancellations in the past week" since the new restrictions were introduced, including the cancellation of corporate events and Christmas parties, and that a survey of the MEAI's members found that three quarters of them have had their gigs cancelled, with some reporting that their gigs for entire month of December have been wiped out.

McGranaghan reportedly said that this is not entirely post-midnight gigs, but also events due to be held before midnight.

Separately, McGranaghan reportedly said that some musicians who had COVID-19 symptoms were told that they would not be booked again if they did not show up.

McGranaghan reportedly said, "I'm aware of musicians who had symptoms, and didn't feel well enough to go and gig, but were basically told 'well if you don't turn up, there'll be no more gigs for you'."

McGranaghan reportedly added, "So they've had to turn up and put themselves in that position because people have put that sort of pressure on them. And that is really not good enough, but that goes part and parcel with being in a self-employed industry."

Government Discusses Pandemic Supports

On Monday November 22, government party leaders and senior ministers reportedly discussed the pandemic supports available to businesses, but there is reportedly no decision in the offing about extending the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) in its current form.

The EWSS is reportedly due to be reduced from next month, however, any decisions around financial supports reportedly will not be taken until the lie of the land on any potential new restrictions becomes clearer.

When asked about the wage subsidy scheme, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe reportedly said that current levels are being "kept under review".

Donohoe reportedly added that if public health restrictions merit changing subsidy scheme levels, that will be kept under review, and reportedly said, however, that this week's subsidy level does not merit a review.

Nphet To Meet On Thursday November 25

The National Public Health Emergency (Nphet) will reportedly meet on Thursday November 25, but politically there is reportedly no widespread expectation at present that significant new restrictions will be recommended that day.

The majority view in the government is reportedly that more time is needed to assess the impact of the measures that were announced last week.

Chief Medical Officer Doctor Tony Holohan reportedly said earlier this week that research suggests that 57% of people are reducing the numbers that they plan to meet between now and Christmas and 45% have cancelled plans.

The Possibility Of Subsidising The Cost Of Antigen Tests

Additionally, Donohoe reportedly said that the government is continuing to examine the possibility of subsidising the cost of antigen tests, but that no decision has been made yet on the principle or the detail.

Donohoe reportedly said that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has been asked to consider options and bring that to the government, and that work is ongoing on the issue of cost, availability and supply.

Donohoe reportedly said that the cost is likely to be a very good investment in the context of the economic harm done by COVID-19 and that he hopes that the government will finalise this soon.

The possibility that the retail sector could play a part in providing subsidised antigen tests is reportedly being examined by the government.

The original plan was reportedly to confine the sale of more affordable tests, priced at between €2 to €3, to pharmacies.

However, there is reportedly now a possibility that the subsidised tests could be made available in a wider variety of shops.

The Taoiseach reportedly told the Dáil that there is a role for regular antigen testing in households.

Responding to Labour's Duncan Smith during the Order of Business, the Taoiseach reportedly said that antigen testing "has to be done in a routine way, not symptomatic - I think that's the key point", and reportedly added, "When people are symptomatic they should go straight away and get the PCR tests."

Deputy Smith reportedly said that antigen tests are "best used in a serial, regular manner...to catch cases that are asymptomatic".

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar reportedly said that they are putting together an information campaign on the use of antigen tests, and that they are looking to get the price down to a "reasonable cost", and working with pharmacists and supermarkets on the issue.

The Tánaiste reportedly said that there could be a memo this week or next week regarding subsidising the tests.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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