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Statement from the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD in relation to Covid-19

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, has met with representatives from the National Cultural Institutions, The Arts Council and the wider arts community following the announcement of new, unprecedented measures to combat Covid-19 and protect public health.

They discussed the measures announced and their effects on the organisations and the sector in general.

It was decided to monitor the impact on the sector and to continue robust engagement in relation to the matter and to ensure continued cooperation in respect of implementing Government measures.

The measures include the closure of all Cultural Institutions until March 29th. It is advised that indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled.

Organisations and individuals currently funded under the Arts Council Strategic Funding, Arts Centre Funding, Arts Grant Funding and Festival Investment Scheme, Round 1 have been advised that the Arts Council will honour all funding commitments that have been made to them and that there will be no financial penalties for organisations/individuals that are unable to deliver key activities/key services arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Organisations that may face cash flow challenges during this time will be able to draw down up to 90% of their Arts Council funding commitment, with immediate effect. This should, in turn, assist them in honouring immediate financial commitments.  Organisations are asked to prioritise commitments to artists – as this is a particularly challenging time for them.

In relation to National Parks, visitor centres are closed but parks and reserves remain accessible to the public. Visitor facilities at National Monument sites which are operated by the Office of Public Works are also closed.

All Gaeltacht, Irish language and island development organisations and island transport service providers are prefunded in order to ensure that they can meet their financial commitments until the end of May.   This measure will provide a level of comfort for employees of these organisations and ensure that they continue to be paid as normal in the medium term at least.