Monday, December 06, 2021

Vivienne Clarke

The co-founder of the Event Industry Association of Ireland, Elaine O’Connor has described the 50 per cent capacity restriction for events as the “worst case scenario.”

It has been a “very long” year and a half for the sector which had been hoping for “some sort of progress,” she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“We’re now in what I would describe as our worst scenario. We’re at our lowest ebb now.”

Ms O’Connor added that while her association was grateful to be invited to today’s meeting between industry representatives and the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, they needed more.

“We need attention, we need our own meeting with these ministers that focus specifically on our industry and the challenges that it faces.”

Ms O’Connor acknowledged that they had received some supports, but said that they had been very focused on sectors of the industry that “maybe suit Government departments more than the industry.”

There were “countless different event types” that had not been able to access supports, she said. The sector had been engaged with the Government for over a year and a half and had made it very clear that even 70 per cent capacity was not feasible.

“To run a gig at 50 per cent capacity you’d have to have been making 50 per cent profit essentially beforehand. We were never anywhere close to that, 70 per cent was a struggle.

Events were now more than 30-40 per cent more expensive to run, she said, “so you’re talking about spending nearly twice as much money or spending twice as much time producing something on the double to try and make up the difference,” explained Ms O’Connor.

The association wants immediate, targeted supports for the event industry and would like a cross-departmental taskforce to start focusing properly on issues that have been presented over the last year and a half on which there has been no progress, she added.

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