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Irish biz calls for clarity as govt floats dry shows

Why, asks one promoter, is he only allowed six people for a show in a church – but 100 for a church service?

By IQ on 11 Sep 2020

3Arena, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin's 9,500-seat 3Arena

image © 3Arena

Figures from across the live music industry have asked for consistency in how live events are treated in the Republic of Ireland, where just six people are currently allowed to gather even in the country’s biggest venues.

At press time, cultural businesses such as museums, cinemas, theatres and art galleries are allowed to welcome 50 people indoors because they are deemed to be “controlled environments”. All other indoor events – including concerts – are subject to the so-called ‘rule of six’, or a maximum capacity of six people.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday, Indiependence festival promoter Shane Dunne said: “It’s quite ironic at the moment that I can have the same number of people in my kitchen as I can in the 3Arena [in Dublin], which has 9,500 seats.”

Brian Byrne, director of Wexford-based Lantern Presents, says recent reductions in capacity limits have scuppered his ability to put on socially distanced events.

“We had planned for 500-capacity socially distanced shows and then it changed; then we planned 200 and the guidelines changed again. So we planned for 50 indoors, but guidelines changed again – so it is frustrating,” he tells the Irish Mirror.

“At the moment I can have the same number of people in my kitchen as I can in the 3Arena”

Adding that there are now “contradictions” in government guidelines for different activities, he continues: “If I do a gig in a theatre, I can have 50 people. But if I do a gig in my own venues, I can have six.

“One of the venues we use is a church – a lovely venue. If I do a music event there this weekend I can only have six people at it. But if I go to mass there the next day, there can be 100 people at mass in the same building.”

Meanwhile, the Republic’s ministers for the arts and health met on Monday (7 September) to discuss provisional plans to restart live entertainment – if alcohol is not served on the premises.

According to the Irish Times, health secretary Martin is “keen to increase the levels of audience and artists at events beyond the current restrictions, and will examine if banning alcohol from such events could facilitate them being held.”

There were 196 daily cases of Covid-19 in Ireland yesterday (10 September).


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