"If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere."

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe ended his Budget speech with a line from Séamus Heaney but his inclusion of a quote from one of Ireland's most respected artists was far from tokenistic.

In fact, the arts and wider entertainment industry were one of the groupings given special attention in this year's Budget, testament to the fact that they remain one of the sectors hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Artists from across the sector had mounted a strong campaign for recognition and assistance, in particular through the National Campaign for the Arts (NFCA), which represents artists and others in the traditionally funded sector, and Epic, representing the commercial side.

Both groups welcomed the overall funding announcement of €130 million to the Arts Council and €50 million to the commercial events sector.

The Arts Council funding represents a significant increase on previous years' allocations and the council said the money would be used to support artists and arts organisations and to ensure that people right across the country could continue to engage with the arts in 2021.

Meanwhile, the NCFA - a volunteer-led movement representing 55,000 artists and arts organisations - said the money demonstrated a clear commitment from Government to ensuring that both funded and commercial arts can survive, recover and thrive.

However the group said that while it welcomed changes to the PUP which will allow artists and arts workers to earn €120 per week without losing the allowance, it was disappointed to see reduced tiered payment rates are still in place.

It is concerned about what will happen in April 2021 when the allowance was phased out.

A brand new feature of yesterday's Budget was the €50m fund for to help the commercial sector open up and stage performances again. This is a sector that did not traditionally receive Arts Council or other state support but has not been able to operate for months, in many cases since restrictions were first imposed.

This new fund aims to help promoters stage live performances even when audience capacity is reduced, and there will also be support for smaller groups and venues.

Speaking at her Departmental Budget briefing, Arts Minister Catherine Martin said interested parties can apply to her Department for the funding.

Applicants must show evidence that they can create employment and have a track record in the area. The aim, she said, is that if venues are open then the funding will trickle down and support all those involved.

The scheme was welcomed by Epic, which also said that measures such as decreases in VAT rate and changes to the PUP were "big steps" in the right direction for the commercial sector.

However, it was concerned that the CRSS scheme, which is designed to support businesses, did not apply to many of its members, including lighting and audio specialists.

Meanwhile the Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland - which represents musicians, DJs and others - said that the support only applies to ticketed venues and not to musicians playing in pubs, and at weddings and other non-ticketed events.

One issue relating to the live performance fund is that it can only be drawn down when venues are able to put on shows and this is dependent on the level of restrictions in force at the time.

When asked if there would be any live events by the end of the year, Minister Martin said that was up to the "changing face of Covid" but that hopefully, if people adhere to guidelines and the country moves to Level 2, then venues can start planning for the future.

It is clear that everyone in the industry wants those live events to happen but the behaviour of the Covid virus, and the restrictions imposed on the community, remain well outside their control.