Madigan & Donohoe launch measures to support Ireland’s artistic & cultural life during Covid-19 Emergency

3rd April, 2020

Initiative will encourage creativity for individuals, families & community wellbeing

A range of specific measures to support the artistic and cultural life of the nation at this difficult time – with a particular focus on wellbeing through personal and community creativity – was announced today.

The shut-down of cultural activity across the country is having serious consequences for artists and producers, and for a whole range of organisations that depend upon cultural activity.  At the same time, we are witnessing a spontaneous outpouring of creative activity by individuals and communities.

The Government, Creative Ireland, the Arts Council, RTE, the local authorities and many other organisations are putting programmes and supports in place to encourage creativity as a source of individual and community wellbeing.

A national  initiative to Shine Your Light created by RTÉ was also announced for Easter Saturday, where the country is being invited to shine a light for all the people who are sick, for those who have lost their lives and their loved ones, for our frontline staff, our healthcare workers, the people who are keeping us going through these dark times.  A light will be shone on public buildings and on our Embassies, and Peacekeeping posts all around the world and shared with the public across all of the RTÉ platforms.  Everyone, especially children, are invited to get involved and to create their own way of shining a light from their homes. 

Speaking at the event, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said:

We are supporting the Arts Community at this difficult time.  We are also supporting opportunities for creativity at home. We can all use the resources of arts and culture to get creative, to have fun with creativity and to learn a new creative skill. I am confident that arts, culture and creativity will play an important role in bringing healing to the nation as we emerge from this unprecedented challenge.

The Government response to the impact of Covid-19 on the arts and culture sector is based on two principles:

First, it is extremely important that we deploy all means at our disposal to protect the incomes of people who work in this sector so that they can produce work that will continue to enrich our cultural lives.  

Second, recognising that creative activity supports wellbeing, it is important that we develop innovative and imaginative initiatives to bring arts and creative engagement directly into our homes and lives.

Speaking at the event, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said:

I am personally convinced that participation in cultural and creative activity drives personal development and increases wellbeing.  Wellbeing is what we all need to talk about now – the arts and creativity are instruments that we must use to a greater extent than ever before. 

The creative industries are not just important in themselves but also because they connect arts and culture to economic activity and social wellbeing. 

We will need to think imaginatively and creatively about how we will rebuild our economy when this crisis is over – and how we can shape an economy that supports the wellbeing of our people, not just financially but in terms of human expression.  The creative industries will have an important role to play.



List of initiatives announced by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD

1.      Opportunities for creativity at home

·       Creative Ireland is offering creative resources online to help you #CreateAtHome.

·         RTE School Hub and RTE Culture are showcasing material from the National Cultural Institutions, national arts organisations and the Arts Council across their platforms.

·         Fighting Words have online resources to support Creative Writing for both Primary and Post-Primary levels.   

·         Creative Schools, a cross government partnership, is finding imaginative, innovative ways to support children, young people, schools and families across the country.   

·       Creative Ireland and Healthy Ireland will support wellbeing through a partnership with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. 

·         Tá an deis ag gach uile duine anois a grá agus a ghrá don Ghaeilge a threisiú agus a spreagadh. Is féidir tabhairt faoi chúrsa Gaeilge ar líne, nó cuidiú lenár mbailiúcháin náisiúnta béaloideas a thras-scríobh.  Beidh TG4 ag tabhairt an pobal Gaelach le chéile ar líne, agus ag tabhairt ardán dár gceol traidisiúnta

·         Waterways Ireland have developed a series of educational resources for children to bring the waterways and the outdoors to life in a fun, creative manner which RTÉ is featuring this on their Home School Hub.

2.      Measures to supporting our artistic community in bringing more of their work to a wider audience

·         A new €1m scheme will support Irish and Irish-based professional artists to create new writing, new music, visual art, painting photography and sculpture;

·         In a partnership with RTE, and others, we will present a broad range of cultural, heritage and language content from archives and new sources working with bodies such as Druid and Other Voices. 

·         We are supporting a new online initiative. Working with Facebook Ireland, Culture Ireland is operating a new grant scheme IrelandPerforms for Facebook Live. 

·         A short film will be aired each day on the website, in partnership with Screen Ireland;

·         TG4 will partner with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for a reimagined Fleadh Ceoil and TG4 Molscéal in collaboration with Ealaín na Gaeltachta, TechSpace and others.

·         Finally, the Abbey’s Dear Irelandproject will see 50 writers producing monologues to be performed by 50 actors in April.

Measures announced by the Arts Council

1.      The Arts Council:

–      will honour all funding commitments that have been made to organisations;

–      there will be no financial penalties for organisations/individuals unable to deliver key activities/key services arising from the impact of the COVID-19; and

–      grantees may draw down up to 90% of their funding commitment, with immediate effect to assist in honouring immediate financial commitments

2.      The Arts Council is finalising a special fund to enable Irish and Irish-based professional artists to provide access for the public to new and original art during the period of Covid-19 isolation.  

Update of activity by Creative Ireland

·         Fighting Words  is a unique resource that empowers children of all ages to find their voice through creating stories.   They have set up Story-Starter for kids aged 7 to 12, to spark their imaginations and help them get started on a story.  They also want to hear from the teenagers; share your stories, poems and graphic fiction to include in their online anthology.

·         Creative learning will be further enhanced by our team of 80 creative associates, from Opera singers, to dancers, to writers to directors. They’re using their discipline, craft and imagination to design new ways to continue to foster creativity in a radically changed context.  They have created a unique learning programme to support schools, pupils and their carers.

·         Music Generation partnerships throughout Ireland are finding new ways to keep music alive for children and young people in spite of our social distance.  Online tuition for musicians, groups and ensembles is being delivered by musician educators.

·         Sing Ireland are inviting people to join together in a ‘virtual choir’, especially those who are missing their regular singing catch ups around the country. The piece they will record is ‘Ireland’s Call’. People are asked to make a video of themselves performing the piece and Sing Ireland will bring it all together. 

·         Get Ireland making- is the great initiative from The Design & Crafts Council Ireland supported by Creative Ireland.  It is a new series of online workshops and activities involving Ireland’s designers, makers and the public. It offers us all a unique opportunity to connect and unite through creativity and craft.

·         Ireland is the only country in the world to have a national day of free creative activities for children, Cruinniú na nÓg, is scheduled for 13thJune. Now we’re exploring how to celebrate the creativity of young people during this period to take into account of the restrictions as a result of the crisis.