Niall Breslin has said the arts industry didn't get "the same consideration" as sport during the coronavirus pandemic, saying "we unfortunately probably got the brunt of it all".
This week, the musician, podcaster and mental health advocate was forced to reschedule the dates for his Where is My Mind? podcast tour to February 2022 as they fell in a "no man's land" before restrictions lift on October 22.
Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, Breslin said the arts industry wasn't even "a slight afterthought" for the government when planning the lifting of restrictions and said he wished there had been more forward planning.
While praising the government for the "very supportive" grants and singling out the "fantastic" efforts of Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, he said more needed to be done.
"They didn’t give us a bit more planning, a bit more strategy," Breslin said. "We brought this plan to them in June 2020, we didn’t want them to reopen obviously, but we said 'listen guys please, when the time comes we need a lot of forward thinking strategy'.
"At the end of the day, none of us expected the government to get everything right in this pandemic, how could you, it’s been a disaster for them.
"We were well aware there was a lot of people looking for a lot of things. We unfortunately probably got the brunt of it all."
The Blizzards singer said it was "unfortunate" that getting the arts sector back up and running was not prioritised like sport.
He said: "The Taoiseach said the GAA is the heartbeat of the country, which I agree with, but arts is the soul.
"The one thing that I didn’t like and I didn’t want to happen, is it became a situation where industries started to turn on each other, which is not what we need at all.
"I was delighted that 40,000 people were allowed into Croke Park [for the All-Ireland senior hurling final], I wanted to go! It wasn’t about that, it was that we didn’t get the same consideration. It was about their perception of that they think the industry is like. They look at the industry and go 'it’s probably a bit mad'.
"And when your Arts Minister is also minister of about 50 other portfolios, how in the name of God is she meant to keep her eye on all of them. I really did feel that Catherine Martin fought our corner but at the higher level, at the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Health level, we just didn’t make the table. And that was unfortunate.
He added: "What we need to do as an industry is to make damn sure this never happens to us again and we need to find a way to become a real collective unit across the board – events, arts, music, everything and stand together."
Soundtrack to My Life, presented by Niall Breslin, begins on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player on Saturday September 18 at 9:50pm