Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht has announced the establishment of a new Taskforce for the recovery of the Arts and Culture sector under the Chair of Clare Duignan.
The Programme for Government: Our Shared Future, includes a commitment to “establish a cross-departmental taskforce to develop a clear approach, informed by the views of all stakeholders, to protect and sustain the arts and culture sector through the COVID-19 recovery and beyond. This will be fed into the National Economic Plan.” While the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have had an unprecedented effect on society and on the economy, the impact on the arts and culture sector has been more detrimental and will undoubtedly last longer than that of any other sector.
Terms of Reference
The Taskforce will prepare a report for the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht including a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector includes culture, the arts, the audiovisual industry and the live entertainment industry. Taking as its starting point, the research and evidence of the devastating impact of the pandemic on the sector compiled by the Department, the Arts Council and other stakeholders, the Taskforce will:-
- adopt a solution-focused approach;
- seek sector-specific expert input and consult with stakeholders inviting proposals for its consideration;
- invite additional individuals or expertise to attend meetings on an ad hoc basis, as it deems necessary;
- focus on providing intelligence and recommendations for an expected on-going and varying impact of COVID-19 restrictions;
- identify immediate and medium term goals for recovery and sustainability in the sector;
- identify possible policy initiatives or impediments to a robust sustainable recovery in the sector;
- recommend whole of Government policy initiatives and actions to support the sector;
- report to the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht by the 31 October 2020 in order to provide the Government with an action-plan for the sector.
Composition of Taskforce
The commitment in the Programme for Government speaks to a cross-departmental taskforce and members will be drawn from across Government departments and state bodies, including the Minister’s Department, the Department of Health and Department of Social Protection. Departmental representation is supplemented by the Arts Council and representatives of culture and the arts including theatre and live music, including the commercial sector. Full membership will be announced shortly.
Speaking today, Minister Martin said: “The performing arts and live entertainment sector shut down early and it will be among the last sector to re-open fully. The negative impact on the arts, culture and live entertainment has been well established and quantified over the past five months in research undertaken by the Arts Council and by my Department. Given that the financial and overall detrimental impact of the crisis on the sector is well established, the Taskforce will propose a suite of solutions and actions to ensure the long term sustainability and health of the sector. I am delighted that Clare Duignan has agreed to Chair the Taskforce, bringing as she does breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to the role.”
Speaking of her appointment, Ms Duignan said: “It is crucial that these important sectors are not left behind as we rebuild Ireland through the Covid-19 recovery and beyond. I hope to lead and work with the Taskforce to deliver effective recommendations that will sustain and protect the arts, to help find a way back for artists, performers and live events workers to the audiences and communities they need, and to restore to Irish citizens the creativity and sustenance that the arts and entertainment sectors give us.”
Clare Duignan held key leadership roles at RTÉ for over 20 years, including Head of Independent Productions, Director of Programmes TV, and Managing Director Radio and Performing Groups. She is currently a board member with IMRO, The Irish Times DAC, The Chester Beatty, Fáilte Ireland, Business to Arts, and Ireland Reaching Out. She has previously served on the board of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, The Dublin International Film Festival, The Arts Council, and the Abbey Theatre Council, and was Chair of the Advisory Board of ShinAwil Film and Television. She is a Board Performance Assessor with the Institute of Directors, and a Lead Entrepreneur with Acorns, supporting early stage female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland.