COVID-19: What Help is Available for Artists and Arts Organisations?

COVID-19: What Help is Available for Artists and Arts Organisations?

Arts Council will honour all funding commitments despite cancelled events; self-employed artists who lose work can apply for Jobseeker’s payment.

The COVID-19 health crisis has meant that a large number of music and arts events have been cancelled between now and the end of the month. Yesterday it was announced that all public gatherings of more than 100 people should be cancelled, and outdoor gatherings of over 500 people should be cancelled also. These measures are in place until 29 March but there is also uncertainty regarding events afterwards. A number of events after the date have already been cancelled.

The implications for the music and arts sector are significant, and there have been a number of calls online for more support for the sector.

Today, a spokesperson for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection told the Journal of Music that self-employed artists who experience a drop off in employment are eligible to apply for a Jobseeker’s payment via their local Intreo centre or online. There is also the Social Welfare Scheme for Professional Artists on Jobseeker’s Allowance, which was expanded in September 2019.

Arts Council funding
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan released a statement today saying that her department will ‘monitor the impact on the sector and … continue robust engagement in relation to the matter and to ensure continued cooperation in respect of implementing Government measures.’

The statement said that for organisations and individuals currently funded under the Arts Council’s Strategic Funding, Arts Centre Funding, Arts Grant Funding and Festival Investment Scheme Round 1 schemes, the  Council will honour all funding commitments even if arts organisations have to cancel events. There will be no financial penalties for organisations that are unable to deliver key activities and services arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

The Council is also allowing arts organisations draw down up to 90% of their funding commitment with immediate effect in order to assist with cashflow. Organisations are being asked to prioritise payments to artists in particular.

Update, 16 March
Fund for Artists
: The Civic Theatre in Tallaght, Co. Dublin, has set up an Artist Emergency Relief Fund that has raised over €15k. Support of €500 is available for artists. Find out more here.
Emrgency Unemployment Payment: The Government has announced an emergency unemployment payment for employees and self-employed who have lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more here.

For more on the Jobseeker’s Payment visit For information on the Social Welfare Scheme for Professional Artists on Jobseeker’s Allowance see here. For updates on the COVID-19 virus, visit and

Published on 13 March 2020

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