Minister of Culture in talks with Department of Social Protection to increase basic income for artists with disabilities

Culture Minister Catherine Martin is in talks with the Department of Social Protection to extend the basic income pilot scheme for artists with disabilities.

The Disabled Artists and Disabled Academics (DADA) group has previously called on the government to provide more details on how the pilot will work and to ensure that artists who receive disability benefits will not lose out.

Earlier this year, Minister Martin announced details of the pilot scheme, which will see 2,000 artists receive €325 a week.

Minister Martin said her officials met with artists with disabilities yesterday and that negotiations with the Department of Social Welfare will continue.

She said the €325 payment will be treated as self-employment income and suggested disability benefits would not be affected.

“My officials met with them yesterday and it was just to reassure them that we worked as hard as we could and it was treated as self-employment income.

“I think we need to continue negotiations, there seems to be maybe a broader issue outside of basic income for artists,” she said.

She said she worked to “get the best deal possible for these artists.”

Separately, Minister Martin said she and the Taoiseach were currently reviewing the €420,000 Future of the Media Commission report, which was submitted to it last October.

It comes amid widespread calls for the report to be released so it can be reviewed.

She said it was “very complex work” and deserved “full and due consideration”.

“I think we will be back to speak to other key Cabinet colleagues and hope to see him in the coming weeks.”

Minister Martin was speaking at the launch of a €5 million fund for climate broadcasting projects through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

It’s part of the wider €10.5m Sound and Vision program and part of the government’s climate action plan.

Joel C. Hicks