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Extra €25m must be used to help smaller live-events organisations

Access to the Live Performance Support Scheme 2021 must be expanded to smaller performance organisations by eliminating the turnover requirement and lowering the production cost figure, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

In a letter to Minister Catherine Martin, Senator John Cummins called for supports for local theatre groups, including the covering of costs of verified ticket sales.

Senator John Cummins said, “The decision to limit capacity to 50% for Christmas shows and concerts, which in many cases are already fully booked, is a devasting hurdle which many groups, societies and producers will be unable to overcome. It is a change that will undoubtedly result in cancelations and we have seen this starting to materialise already”.

“For those who are forced to pull the plug, priority must be given to supporting producers for expenditure which has already been incurred, this is only right and fair and this can and should be done through Local Authority Arts Offices”

“There will however, be some organisations that will persevere and say, “the show must go on”. Their ability to cover costs will be massively curtailed due to capacity limitations. Money coming in will be down, but fixed costs will remain the same.

“The costs associated with a production like a panto are many and varied. In reality it’s a huge financial burden which many take on due to their love of theatre and their desire to make audiences laugh and smile”.

Speaking in Seanad Eireann earlier today Senator Cummins said “Minister Catherine Martin’s department has received an additional €25 million to support the entertainment sector. A proportion of this funding must be directed towards expanding the Live Performance Support Scheme (strand 2) to ensure community groups and smaller productions are supported throughout this incredibly difficult period.

“I know Minister Catherine Martin has been working on proposals over the last few days and meeting with the sector, along with the Tánaiste. Smaller productions could be supported through a change to the LPSS or through other means, such as through the local authorities.

“The current LPPS scheme is exclusively for venues, producers and promoters with VAT-exclusive turnover of €300,000 or above and production costs of at least €150,000. These criteria exclude many fantastic small groups and local societies who operate throughout the country.

“I’m sure we can come up with a solution.

“Throughout the pandemic, Fine Gael in Government has ensured businesses and workers have received vital support. Commercial rates for the hospitality sector have been waived for another three months and Minister Paschal Donohoe will shortly be announcing more detail on targeted supports for the hospitality sector. Minister Heather Humphreys also announced the reintroduction of the PUP for those impacted by the new restrictions,” concluded Senator Cummins.

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