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Government considering using vaccination programme to help reopen live gigs

Leo Varadkar said that, despite plans being put in place, the virus likes to ‘rip them up’.

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Franz Ferdinand perform during a Vodaphone TBA gig in central Dublin (Yui Mok/PA)

Franz Ferdinand perform during a Vodaphone TBA gig in central Dublin (Yui Mok/PA)

Franz Ferdinand perform during a Vodaphone TBA gig in central Dublin (Yui Mok/PA)

The Government is examining how the vaccination programme could help lead to the resumption of live gigs, but the Tanaiste warned it is “impossible to say” when they will reopen.

Leo Varadkar said that, despite plans being put in place, the virus likes to “rip them up”.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts Catherine Martin is seeking advice on how to reopen music at outdoor licensed premises and indoor licensed premises.

It comes as the Government unveiled details of the Event Sector Covid Support Scheme.

Grants of 7.5% of an event organiser’s turnover, up to a maximum of 50,000 euro, will be paid to applicants as a contribution to businesses costs.

It will apply to those who provide services to support festivals, concerts, conferences, and live entertainment.

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The scheme will open for applications on August 4 at a cost of 11.5 million euro to the state.

Asked when live gigs will reopen, Mr Varadkar said: “It’s impossible to say, and as I’ve often said before this virus surprises us and likes to rip up our plans.

“At the moment we’re seeing the Delta variant really surged in terms of case numbers, we expected that to happen, I don’t think we expect that to happen quite as soon as it has.

“The models would have indicated that this would have happened a bit later.”

I would like to see them reopen as soon as possible but we are in uncertain times just right nowCatherine Martin

Ms Martin said that she has spoken to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly about the use of vaccinations to help reopen the sector.

“But of course, of paramount importance right now is keeping safe and so we have to move in a very cautious way,” the Green minister added.

“I will seek the advice, and as always we as a government will keep an eye on the Delta variant and the cases and the ICU numbers and hospitalisations.

“I would like to see them reopen as soon as possible but we are in uncertain times just right now.

“There’s cautious optimism there as well. When we look at 59% vaccination rate reached today, we’re going to reach our 5 million dose this week.

“Hopefully that vaccination could have a role to play and what we’re doing in indoor hospitality, we might be in a position then to examine how that will affect other than indoor venues.”

She added that the pandemic continues to have an “unprecedented impact” on those in the events sector.

Ms Martin said the new scheme will include businesses providing services to the arts and culture sector and a businesses providing services in the broader events sector.

“So grants of 7.5% of turnover up to a maximum of 50,000 euro will be paid to successful applicants as a contribution to businesses costs,” she added.

“Businesses supplying services to the events and arts sector will be able to apply for this grant, including those who provide services to support festivals, concerts, conferences, and live entertainment, and the scheme will open for application on August 4.”

Mr Varadkar said it will include those involved in live performance, trade shows, festivals, including those who provide services to events industry like stage equipment, lighting, security, supply of sound and catering services.


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