A 1 million euro scheme has been announced to support Irish and Irish based professional artists to create new work during the Covid 19 crisis.

The announcement was made by the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht this afternoon.

Culture Ireland will also work with Facebook Ireland on a new scheme entitled 'Ireland Performs'. RTÉ and others will present cultural, heritage and language content from archives and new sources.

Watch: Government briefing on the arts amid coronavirus crisis

This afternoon the Arts Council released more details about the new scheme. Called the Arts Council Covid 19 Crisis response award, it will involve a new digital platform.

The award is open to anyone who can demonstrate a track record of professional practice as an artist, with no restriction on the type or form of art that can be created, whether new writing; new music; readings; music performances; performance of short monologues or dramas; visual art such as painting, photography or sculpture; sound art; presentation of art films or documentaries; or online collaborations.

The Arts Council said proposals would be assessed and scored based on the artistic quality of the proposal, the potential of the idea to engage with the public, and the track record of the artist. Successful applicants will be awarded €3,000.

Artists already receiving funding from the Arts Council across a range of schemes are not eligible to apply.

Measures were also announced to help members of the public access creativity and the arts. Creative Schools will support young people and families while Creative Ireland and Healthy Ireland will support wellbeing.

Members of the public are being asked to ‘Shine a Light’ for those who are sick, those who have lost their lives and their loved ones and for healthcare workers and frontline staff on Easter Saturday. Public buildings and embassies around the world will be lit up.

The National Campaign for the Arts have said its extremely disappointed by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's response to the impact of Covid 19 on the arts community. 

The NCFA said the fund represents a small investment in individual artists but doesn't apply to many kinds of artistic practice. It also said that other iniatitives announced - including 'Shine a Light' - have little to do with professional arts practice and do little to address the real damage that has been done to the sector. 

Many members of the Irish artistic community have voiced their own opinions online. 

The group said today's annoucement showed little respect for artists and those who support them.