Context: On Thursday, 6 January 2022, Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media launched an online consultation on the Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) pilot scheme to elicit the views of artists, those working in the arts and culture sector and the public. More information here:

The online consultation follows a successful stakeholder forum on 15 December that saw over 150 participants from 50 artists and arts workers resource and representative bodies come together to discuss the proposal and provide their views and feedback to the Minister and her Department.

Minister Martin established the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce in 2020 as a response to the pandemic, and to provide a platform for solution-focused recommendations for the recovery of the arts and culture sector. The number one recommendation of the taskforce was the introduction of a basic income for the arts pilot scheme.

The purpose of the online consultation is to ensure that the general public, artists and those working in the arts and culture sector have the opportunity to contribute to the policy development for the pilot scheme and to offer suggestions from their experiences as artists, arts workers and members of resource organisations on key issues such as the schemes objectives, eligibility criteria, supporting emerging artists and participant responsibilities.

Response: The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will be launched in the coming months. Further details will be published on the Department’s website after the feedback and input from the online consultation is assessed and finalised.

What you can do: The online consultation opens 6th January and is available for response here until the consultation closes on 27 January 2022. As Minister with responsibility for arts and culture, Catherine Martin TD said: “I encourage everyone interested to get involved in the online consultation for the Basic Income for the Arts pilot. Your views will help shape the final design of the pilot when it rolls out in the coming months. This is a once-in-a-generation policy intervention, a measure that I believe will redraw the landscape for the arts for hopefully many years to come. Our culture and the arts are a fundamental expression of who we are as a nation. Our rich cultural heritage is one of our greatest assets, and our artists weave a sense of identity, creativity and belonging into the fabric of our communities. The intrinsic societal value of culture and the arts was particularly evident during the pandemic, where it provided colour, light and hope in uncertain times.”

Make your submission  outlining the requirements of the music sector as you see them, you may reference Music Alliance Ireland’s submission. 


Music Alliance Ireland made a submission to the consultation and also directly contacted the Minister with the letter below.


Dear Minister Martin,

I am writing in my capacity as the Chair of Music Alliance Ireland/Comhaontas Ceoil na Éireann.

Music Alliance Ireland is a group of national music organisations and companies that have come together to enhance their support for the music sector and establish a collective voice. Our current working group consists of performance groups, concert promoters and resource organisations with a remit across the island and involvement in a variety of musical genres. The current members are: Association of Irish Composers, Contemporary Music Centre, Crash Ensemble, Diatribe Records, Improvised Music Company, Journal of Music, Kirkos Ensemble, Music Network, and Trad Ireland/Traid Éireann.

The MAI welcomes the BIA as a vital support for artists in Ireland, and recognises the huge amount of work and vision by all involved to bring the proposal to its present stage of development. We are also grateful for the opportunity to make submissions to the process. 

Our recommendation at this stage primarily focuses on the complicated issue of eligibility of musicians for candidature. 

Recognising that the Department’s proposal that “membership of a recognised certifying organisation will stand as an automatic determinant of eligibility“, we feel strongly that the list of qualifying organisations for musicians’ eligibility should be broadened beyond membership of the Musicians Union of Ireland. Given that this is a three-year trial and its success relies on a broad diversity of participants, the Praxis phrase “inclusivity rather than exclusivity” resonates here. It is our finding that the MU does not have a broad enough membership base to fully represent our sector, and we would therefore recommend that membership of any one of the relevant national music resource organisations should qualify an artist for eligibility in this instance. 

Similarly, we support the addition of the option whereby “applicants may self-certify as an artist or creative arts worker and provide supporting documentation for review” and would propose that this process could include letters of support from resource organisations, as well as the crucial option for the artist in question to self-certify through Revenue if they have declared income as a self-employed musician in recent years. In addition, holding Artist Exemption status from Revenue should be an indicator of eligibility.

Once again, we would like to express our gratitude for this venture, and reiterate that we stand ready to support the Department in an advisory role if further clarification of this issue is required.

Kind regards,

 Image courtesy of Crash Ensemble. 

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