Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has donated £50,000 to help struggling musicians in Northern Ireland.
He also criticised the relative lack of Covid relief funding for the arts sector here compared to the rest of the UK.
In a statement from the Lightbody Foundation, he said: “At times like these health is of course the priority which is why recent and future donations from us have been for health and mental health based charities however surely the preservation of our culture is extremely important too. There has been no government relief funding for struggling musicians in Northern Ireland like there has been in the rest of the UK.”
He noted that Arts Council England had pledged £160m in Covid relief to the arts, with £20m going to creators. Scotland had pledged £13m and Wales had pledged £10m.
“This compares to £1.5m in Northern Ireland for grants that require an artist to prove the money will be spent on taking new and innovative approaches to a future project,” he said.
“Musicians in England, Scotland and Wales have been given access to no strings attached grants to help them through this time of no gigs. Surely NI bands and artists deserve to be treated with similar care."
The singer said the music scene in Northern Ireland had flourished in since the end of the Troubles, but it was still a young scene which needed protecting.
"I am of course not talking about bands that have done well like ourselves. I’m talking about bands that need to be playing live shows to make ends meet and of course there are no live shows at the moment or for the foreseeable future."