Today Elaine O’Connor, the co-founder of the Event Industry Association of Ireland, and a team of people from all across hospitality and entertainment sat down with the government to voice their concerns. Present at the meeting was Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, and Minister for Arts and Culture Catherine Martin.
The Irish government ushered in a new wave of restrictions on Friday. These restrictions excessively impact Ireland’s cultural sector. Irelands gig sector has been victimized by these regulations.
Concerns were raised by the Event Industry Association of Ireland “a couple of weeks ago about what would happen if things didn’t go well”. They were dismissed and nothing was planned. The entertainment industry has now “ended up with the exact scenario” it was concerned about.
Many gigs have been outright cancelled because performing a gig or event at 50% often means making an outright loss. Producers and Promoters now have twice as much work and half the return. Potentially no return at all. They have now organised gigs they have to cancel and refund. Since the advent of Covid hosting gigs has become 30 – 40% more expensive to run. To break even at a 50% capacity gig the tickets would need to be astronomically priced.
During the meeting, the government agreed to “review” the restrictions The meeting itself was described as “nothing new or unexpected” by O’Connor. O’Connor has been participating in meetings since September of 2020 and says that “In nearly every case” the meeting has been after the fact. The feeling is that they are “meeting for the sake of saying that we’ve met”
“Optics are clearly important,” she said. The characterisation of venues as “unsafe” places with “dangerous” practises has been ubiquitous. There have been very few outbreaks being traced back to entertainment events. Ironically the industry has people who are probably best equipped to deal with socialising in the time of COVID. She said as an industry “We specialize in crowd management, health and safety, cleaning, and people.”
Elsewhere on District: Top 5 things to eat in Dublin this weekend