U2, Hozier, Andrea Corr, Christy Moore and Dara Ó Briain are among 600 signatures on an open letter calling for "appropriate and unprecedented support" in order for the live entertainment and events industry to survive.

The letter, which is part of National Awareness Week for the Live Entertainment & Event Industry in Ireland, is calling for an "immediate reinstatement of the EWSS and PUP payment at €350 per week until the sector is up and running again". 

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The letter is also seeking grant funding proportionate to what has been allocated to the Arts Council in 2020 and that the commercial entertainment industry "receives parity of voice" with the state-funded Taskforce for the recovery of the Arts and Culture sector which was announced earlier this week by the government. 

It comes following months of criticism from industry leaders and employers who say they have been "totally ignored" and have received "virtually no government aid".

Christy Moore

Venues across the country including the 3Arena, Aviva Stadium and Croke Park have been lighting up red this week in support of the campaign and to highlight the need for "serious government support" to save an industry that contributes "over €3.5 billion to the economy".

The domestic live events and entertainment industry employs over 35,000 full and part-time workers, the majority of whom haven't had any paid work since March, the letter also stated. 

It accounts for 90% of the five million tickets sold in Ireland each year and it is estimated that for every euro spent on a ticket, an additional €6 is spent in the wider tourist economy, including more than three million hotel bed nights per annum. 

The Event Production Industry Covid-19 Working Group (EPIC) created a video, narrated by Stephen James Smith, to accompany the letter.

Meanwhile the managing director of concert promoters MCD, has said the biggest cost of Covid-19 to the live entertainment industry is the number of people who are out of work.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Denis Desmond said 35,000 people who are involved in the commercial sector are without work since the start of the pandemic.

He said the sector generates €3.4 billion for the economy and he has called for a a pro-active approach from Governnment to reopen the industry. 

MCD  owns the Olympia and Gaiety venues, and operates festivals like Longitude and Electric Picnic. 

Mr Desmond said while there has been PUP support, more needs to be done and gave the example of New Zealand where he said much more financial support has been given to the sector. 

"We have reached out to Government and there needs to be a roadmap on how to get businesses in this industry open over the next five to six months," he said.