The entertainment industry has taken a massive hit globally since the outbreak of Covid-19. The
whole industry is at a total stand still. It will take years for things to get back to where they were pre-Covid. The job loses are incredible. When you go to see a show, you may never think about the entire crew that has worked relentlessly to put it all together. Sound and lighting technicians and engineers, stage managers, producers, directors, theatre staff, safety officers, and then the artists and performers themselves. All these people and more have been out of work for months now.
The industry is so close to my heart as I have toured around the world as part of international Irish music, dance and cultural productions. No matter where we went, we were received tremendously as people flocked to experience for themselves a piece of Irish culture.
I trained for years in various styles of dance. I attended a number of different dance schools and
classes and they opened the door to a world of opportunities that I could only ever dream of. Now
we have a situation where these dance classes are totally shut down. The next generation of
performers and artists are being denied the right train in their respective disciplines of dance. When Covid ends, our young people may have missed the opportunity to take part in this world of
performance that has instilled in me a deep sense of confidence and joy that I carry with me
throughout my life.
Choreographers and dance teachers are the ones who are best able to apply Covid safety measures
to their students. The dance teacher has their students in full sight at all times. Part of their job is to position a student in a certain place for a dance routine and there for the two meter rule can be fully applied. The halls used by dance teachers are spacious and if there is enough room to accommodate a large class of up to 30 students safely then I don’t understand why this cannot happen now.
Pubs are operating with adults eating a light meal and drinking large quantities of alcohol. There is no choreographer directing the goings-on in such pubs and yet they can stay for 1 hour 45 mins. Dance classes are usually no more than 1 hour with classes for younger students being even shorter. Weddings can take place with up to 50 people and no time restrictions and yet a 1 hour, socially distant, supervised dance class cannot operate.
I am calling on the Government to address these issues. So far Minister Humphreys comments that
musicians should “retrain” have been completely insensitive and shows the deep disconnect
between the Minister and those she is supposed to represent.
It is time for the Government to support the entertainment industry. Support Irish Choreographers,
dance teachers and performers. Allow these classes to open now. If the current restrictions are
extended beyond 13 th September, then some classes may never open again.
Jack Lynch, Aontú Representative in Trim Local Electoral Area, Co. Meath.