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'untenable' Entertainment reps blast Government's 'blatant disregard' for industry after Croke Park crowd

This is a shameful indictment of Government, which demonstrates a clear and blatant disregard for the live entertainment and event sector’

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An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Supporters watch the parade before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Supporters watch the parade before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

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An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Music industry representatives have blasted the Government after 40,000 people watched the All-Ireland senior hurling final at Croke Park yesterday, while the live entertainment sector remains on pause. 

Event Industry Alliance, which represents a number of live event and music industry groups, said that Micheál Martin and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney’s attendance at Croke Park yesterday is a “blatant disregard” for the live events sector.

They said the Taoiseach’s position is “untenable”.

“An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD must now consider his position which is clearly untenable, in light of the above,” reads a statement from the alliance issued today. 

Member of the alliance and event promoter Justin Green added; “This is a shameful indictment of Government, which demonstrates a clear and blatant disregard for the live entertainment and event sector, and shows complete contempt for every Irish citizen.”

Music and live events representative groups met with Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin last Wednesday and another meeting has been scheduled for this week.

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Supporters watch the parade before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Supporters watch the parade before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Supporters watch the parade before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Minister Martin was unable to give a date for the reopening of the sector and told the meeting that her ministerial colleagues had rejected a roadmap that she put forward on August 6.

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Supporters before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Supporters before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Supporters before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Limerick in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

She also requested to attend a Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19, which makes most of the key decisions around lifting of restrictions and her request was declined.

The minister is scheduled to meet live events groups again this coming Wednesday.

“An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Ministers Leo Varadkar and Stephen Donnelly failed to attend last Wednesday’s ‘Live Events Sector’ virtual meeting despite requests from Arts & Culture Minister Catherine Martin TD,” added the statement from the alliance.

“A further meeting has been arranged for this Wednesday 25th August 2021 and once again we call upon such individuals to attend, to show the €3.5 billion sector and its 35,000 workers and their families, the respect they deserve.

“Why is the live entertainment and event industry, the only sector mandated to remain closed, still being discriminated against by Government?”

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The footage comes just hours after Minister Simon Coveney defended the 40,000 attendance at Croke Park amid frustration that restrictions have not yet been eased for the entertainment and live events industry. Photo: Julian Behal

The footage comes just hours after Minister Simon Coveney defended the 40,000 attendance at Croke Park amid frustration that restrictions have not yet been eased for the entertainment and live events industry. Photo: Julian Behal

The footage comes just hours after Minister Simon Coveney defended the 40,000 attendance at Croke Park amid frustration that restrictions have not yet been eased for the entertainment and live events industry. Photo: Julian Behal

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The statement came a day after respected figures in the entertainment industry expressed their anger and frustration at a video of fans gathered outside Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

The video, which is being shared widely on Twitter by a music photographer, shows crowds gathered on Portland Place this afternoon.

A number of people can be seen drinking pints, while others are gathered to talk to friends or weaving their way through the match crowd.

It has been viewed tens of thousands of times online, just hours after Minister Coveney defended the 40,000 crowd in attendance on RTÉ radio.

Sharing the video, fiddler and singer Niamh Dunne wrote; “I’m watching and (obviously!) LOVING the match, but I also did an outdoor gig last night and only 80 people were allowed attend, all masked, all 2 metres apart. It’s my 3rd gig in front of people in 2 years. The other gigs were on the north and abroad. It’s hard not to be raging.”

Musician Denice Doyle added; “How can any of us in the Arts and Entertainment industry be expected to stomach these scenes?

“I live just a stones throw away from Croke Park and this is just utterly heartbreaking! Shame on our government. Shame on you!”

And Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon wrote; “Delighted for all GAA fans that attendance at matches is possible again, but it’s simply no longer credible to argue that what’s happening in Dublin today is safer than musicians performing to a couple of hundred people indoors. It’s not.”

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One earlier in the day, Minister Coveney said there was a “big difference” between All-Ireland final day and entertainment events.

“There’s a big difference, it’s outside, it’s structured, it’s in a very large stadium. People will be apart in terms of social distancing and wearing masks,” he said.

“We have worked with sporting organisations to put a protocol in place to allow big events like this to happen, but happen in a way that’s controlled and managed and that’s what will happen in Croke Park today.”

He continued; “But I hope it’s also a signal and an indication that we can live with Covid-19 and, despite the risk, we can organise big events.

"But we do need to do it in a managed and cautious and structured way.

"It’s the first time in a very long time that this number of people will be in the same place.”

The minister added he suspects a date in September will mark the reopening of the events industry.

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