The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has announced additional funding of €50m to support the live performance sector, following the introduction of new restrictions.

Minister Catherine Martin said that €5m has been allocated for the seasonal musical theatre and pantomime scheme, known as LPSS 2.

Funding will increase from €2m to €5m, with the turnover requirement being reduced to €100,000 from €300,000.

The Government said this scheme is open for applications until the end of January.

€20m is also being provided for another strand of the Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS 3), which is aimed at specifically supporting performances in December and January which may need to be cancelled, curtailed or rescheduled.

This scheme will open for applications on Friday December 17. Venues, including nightclubs that stage live performances, producers and promoters can apply for up to 50% of their eligible costs.

Meanwhile, a minimum of €14m will be made available for another strand of the Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS 4), to support performances being staged from February 2022 to June 2022.

This scheme will open in January 2022 and if further funds are required the Minister will seek additional funding from the Covid Contingency Fund.

The Minister also said that €5m will be give to Local Authorities to support local artists and performances through the Local Live Performance Support Scheme. This will include funding for community and local pantomimes.

€5m will also be available to continue the capital supports scheme (CECGS) to venues, including for ventilation upgrades and other Covid adaptations, while funding of €1m is being allocated for the Saint Patrick's Festival 2022.

Catherine Martin said the live entertainment sector has been asked to shoulder a heavy burden with these new restrictions.

"This is not where we wanted to be but the epidemiological situation is such that we must try to reduce socialisation to manage Covid-19 case numbers over the coming weeks," Minister Martin said.

"I know audiences are still seeking live performance experiences after venues were closed for so long and I do not want to see stages going dark in the coming weeks. LPSS 3 will provide venues with the flexibility to decide if they will proceed with their events or reschedule and keep artists and crew employed," she added.

Speaking at the News at One, the Minister added that her absolute focus is on keeping people on stage and would rather that happen than people revert to PUP supports.