Local TD John McGuinness: 'In Kilkenny, I am acutely aware of the great role the arts and the network relating to arts projects, festivals and so on play in the economy'
The arts and entertainment sector have taken a big hit during Covid-19 and not enough is being done to facilitate a speedy recovery, according to Deputy John McGuinness who raised the issue in Leinster House this week.
The local TD has called for national funding to be directed through local authorities to directly facilitate local arts and entertainment sectors by providing additional funding to local festivals and imaginative ideas such as performers live streaming from local venues.
“In Kilkenny, I am acutely aware of the great role the arts and the network relating to arts projects, festivals and so on play in the economy," said Deputy McGuinness, speaking in Leinster House at a meeting of the Covid19 Committee.
"Through the local authorities, there needs to be a substantial input of funding from central government to support festivals such as the Arts Week and Rhythm and Roots and events centres such as the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny.”
Deputy McGuinness praised local entertainers who, throughout lockdown, have entertained people by live streaming from their own homes. He also pointed to imaginative ideas such as the recent virtual concert by The Kilkennys that streamed from the Watergate Theatre. He highlighted the fact that funding and supports are needed to build on such creativity and help performers ease back to work.
“A range of supports available through the local authorities will be challenged due to the financial circumstances of those authorities. It will be for central government to come in and act on that. I mentioned the Watergate Theatre, which is being used for virtual performances and so on. That type of innovation needs to be supported,” he said.
“Most businesses were given reasonably clear indications as to when they could re-open and what restrictions would be in place. Local entertainers such as musicians that perform on the pub and club circuit, were not given any path to recovery. In fact, pubs were told that they cannot have live music when reopening. These artists are now unemployed indefinitely. They need a plan, they need supports and, in the short term, creative ideas that bring them back to work in a different way, must be facilitated."