Positive step for professional artists and writers as Ministers Humphreys and Varadkar launch pilot scheme to make it easier to access social welfare supports

The Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar TD, and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, have today (Monday) announced the details of new arrangements to make it easier for artists and writers to access social welfare supports. The Ministers made the announcement at Poetry Ireland’s new headquarters on Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

The initiative, which is a key commitment under the Creative Ireland Programme, will assist self-employed artists who apply to the Department of Social Protection for Jobseekers Allowance. The pilot initiative, which will be reviewed after one year, will apply to visual artists and writers. Under the new mechanism, the Department of Social Protection will provide for the classification of self-employed professional artists.  Such artists would not be subject to the activation process for 12 months.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“Artists are at the very centre of the Creative Ireland programme, and I have been particularly keen for some time now to do more to recognise the income challenges faced by artists. This pilot scheme is not a panacea, but it is a clear sign that the Government recognises the vital role that artists play in Irish society and that we respect and value their contribution.

“I would like to thank Minister Varadkar for his consistent support for this initiative. We first met to discuss this idea early last year, and Leo has been very supportive ever since. I would also like to thank the Arts Council which has provided invaluable support and advice as to how the scheme should operate. I would also like to thank the Irish Writers Centre and Visual Artists Ireland for their input and guidance. Getting this far has been a team effort.

“This is a pilot initiative which will initially be available to writers and visual artists. The issue of income for artists is something that has been raised with me on a regular basis, so I hope this pilot initiative can be seen as a very positive step for the arts community. We will closely monitor the implementation of the pilot initiative, before considering whether extending the arrangements to professional artists in other disciplines.”

Speaking at the announcement Minister Varadkar said:
“Ireland is world-famous as a haven for art and artists who central to our culture. This reputation for artistic achievement is part of our global USP. Promoting Ireland as a home for art and artists is central to my plans to double our global footprint in the years ahead. I believe it is only right that we allow for some flexibility within the social welfare system to allow artists to access social welfare supports when they need them. Up to now, artists have found it difficult to access social welfare and of course many artists take on extra jobs to support their livelihoods.

“Following extensive work between both Departments, with input from the Arts Council, this new mechanism will allow professional self-employed artists to be classified as such for the purposes of accessing social welfare supports. I welcome the involvement of Visual Artists Ireland and the Irish Writers Centre in this process. The normal checks and balances will apply to ensure the initiative is not open to abuse, but it is my hope that this will make it much easier for professional artists to access social welfare supports when they need them.

“I am really excited and enthusiastic about the Creative Ireland programme, which has the potential to be transformative in terms of public policy. It’s something we can all get involved in. Creative Ireland sets out to help more people take part in art and cultural activities, and above all to enjoy them.”

_______________________________

Further details on the scheme:

This initiative will assist self-employed artists who apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for Jobseekers Allowance. The pilot initiative will apply to visual artists and writers.

Such artists would not be subject to the activation process for 12 months.

Arrangements will be introduced on a pilot basis and will apply to visual artists and writers.  The option of extending the arrangements to professional artists in other disciplines will be considered later.

Once a person has been classified as a self-employed artist on the DSP system they would not be subject to activation process for at least a year. The other conditions associated with jobseeker’s allowance will continue to apply, as they do for all other claimants.

A professional self-employed artist applying to DSP would:

  • Provide a certificate/declaration from their professional body as to their status as a professional artist. The appropriate body for visual artists is Visual Artists Ireland and for writers the appropriate body is The Irish Writer’s Centre.
  • Be registered as self-employed with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and at least 50% of the person’s income should have been derived from their art in the preceding year.

It is important to note that this scheme will operate in addition to the Artists’ Tax Exemption. Under Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, the first €50,000 per annum of profits or gains earned by writers, composers, visual artists and sculptors from the sale of their work is exempt from income tax in Ireland in certain circumstances.

Creative Ireland:
Creative Ireland Programme is an all of Government five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. It is built around five pillars: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child; Enabling Creativity in Every Community; Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production; Unifying our Global Reputation. Further information on Creative Ireland is available at creative.ireland.ie

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. You can review our Privacy Policy under the menu above: About VAI > VAI Privacy Statement

Close