Performers protest outside Leinster House amid ongoing closures

ireland
Protesters outside the Dáil today. Photo:/Collins
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Digital Desk Staff

Performers, including dancers, actors and singers have gathered outside Leinster House protesting against the ongoing closure of the performing arts sector due to Covid-19 restrictions.

A socially distanced demonstration was held as part of the 'What About Us' campaign, highlighting the difficulties faced by the industry and the lack of Government supports available to performers.

Staff and students from performing arts schools have also turned out in protest, as their centres remain closed despite the reopening of other areas of the education sector back in September.

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid West Emer Higgins has voiced her support of the action and is due to speak on the matter in the Dáil latter this evening.

Ms Higgins will put the issue to the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Murphy asking why children have been permitted to return to other sporting activities but not dance.

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The difficulties having the sector was also raised by Solidarity-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who claimed many performers have been unable to access financial supports throughout the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Mr Boyd Barrett told a special Dáil committee on the Arts that the sector "helped save our collective sanity" during the first national lockdown, but despite the easing of restrictions, there is "little or no recovery in sight for tens of thousands of arts and music workers".

"Theatres, venues, festivals, and gigs will simply not be possible or viable for the foreseeable future and that means thousands and thousands of artists, musicians, technicians, and crew see no viable recovery for their livelihoods.

"The long-standing failure to respect and acknowledge the huge societal importance of arts and music and the huge contribution it makes to the country’s well-being and international reputation is shameful enough but in the face of the Covid crisis it is literally a life and death matter for the sector and the livelihoods of those that work in it," he added.

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