The Irish government is now paying 2,000 artists, musicians, writers, and performers a ‘basic income’ of €325 ($329) each week.
The plan for the Basic Income for Artists was originally announced back in January 2022. The Minister for Culture and Arts is spending around €25m ($23.3M) on the initiative. Over 9,000 people applied to join the program, with 2,000 accepted. Those who were accepted into the program were selected anonymously and at random. According to the BBC, musicians, and artists make up the bulk of recipients, who will receive the stipend for three years.
The basic income initiative was set up for those working in the arts by a task force appointed by the Irish Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Catherine Martin.
The task force was created to suggest ways the arts could recover from the damage caused by the pandemic. One of the stipulations of joining the program is taking part in a research project to determine the impact of the payment.
Dublin has the highest number of recipients of the Irish Basic Income for musicians grant, at 764. Cork has 212, and Galway has 148 recipients. The breakdown for recipients is 700 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 film creatives, and 184 writers. Around 170 actors and others working on theater projects were also selected. That includes 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists, and 10 architects. 50 of the recipients work in the Irish language.
The high demand for the basic income stipend was acknowledged by the government. Irish Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin says, “there will be a lot of disappointed people today who applied and didn’t get selected. I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to apply and I understand their disappointment.”
“Ireland could lead the way on a new model to support people active in the sector, recognizing its importance to all people,” she adds.