The Government of Ireland has started a new basic income program for artists and culture workers throughout the country. Currently, the program will operate with a budget of €25 million ($28.3 million) providing basic income to 2,000 people for three years.
This move comes as a result of “unprecedented damage” to the artistic community from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, €10.50 ($11.90) per hour is the proposed rate for artists to receive.
“The minister is conscious of the value that this sector brings to all Irish citizens,” read a statement from Catherine Martin, Ireland’s culture minister. “The importance of Irish culture, Irish art and Irish productions as a whole cannot be understated—it contributes to individual and societal well-being, as well as contributing to Ireland’s reputation as a country with a rich cultural history and output.”
Arts, culture, audio-visual, live performance, and events are the sectors in consideration to be eligible for the program. Professionals in these fields have faced many struggles since the pandemic took hold in March of 2020. Many had lost all income for months at a time, and as the omicron variant surges around the country, many are in danger of losing all income again.
The relief program for artists in Ireland is expected to open in early 2022 according to Irish News.