The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, has said she wants nightclubs to reopen on 22 October.

Speaking at her departmental budget briefing this afternoon, she also said it is unlikely that antigen testing will be used at that stage as the expert advisory group's report on such tests has not yet been received.

Ms Martin was asked about reports that senior officials were concerned about rising Covid numbers.

She said she understood there was concern around ICU figures and hospitalisations but that as it stands, "we are still heading for reopening on 22 October".

The minister said the National Public Health Emergency Team will meet next week and the Government will then meet on foot of that.

Among the measures announced today to bolster the arts and artists as they emerge from the pandemic was a €25 million support scheme for live entertainment.

Minister Martin said these supports would be similar to those available during 2021, for example the Live Performance Support Scheme, and she said there would be engagement with the sector on the issue.

A further €25 million has been allocated to pilot a new basic income scheme for artists and arts workers with a likely launch in early 2022.


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Meanwhile €4 million has been allocated to deliver measures proposed by the Night Time Economy Task Force, including a new scheme for pubs and cafes to broaden late night activity across the country and late night opening in national cultural institutions.

The Arts Council has welcomed its allocation of €130 million for 2022 which it said will be used to support artists and arts organisations emerging from the Covid-19 crisis.

Meanwhile Screen Ireland has said its 22% funding increase will help support an industry with significant potential for further growth.

It said a new tax credit for digital gaming development companies acknowledges the "huge potential" of Ireland's creative digital economy.