SING IRELAND urges a safe easing of restrictions as singing groups across Ireland seek clarity 20/08/2021

Sing Ireland welcomes the call from Minister Catherine Martin for her inclusion on the Government Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19 and the announcement that a roadmap for the arts and entertainment industry is in preparation. This is urgently required for the reopening of arts and music sector activities in Ireland. Singing groups and choirs throughout the country are seeking clarification from Government on a timeline for reopening. Professional musicians working with singing groups and choirs have now been unable to work in any sustained way for eighteen months. Research from the EU Culture Programme reports that over 229,000 people are involved in group singing in Ireland and this is an activity from which so many in Irish society derive enormous well-being, social and health benefits. In spite of the large numbers involved, it is quite obvious that indoor group sports classes and other activities are being favoured for reopening ahead of music and arts activities. Sing Ireland has undertaken extensive risk assessments and has advised the sector of the resulting risk mitigation strategies required for the safe and controlled reopening of singing groups indoors. The current situation is almost unique to Ireland. Across much of Europe and the world singing groups and other music activities have been allowed to resume.

When singing, the respiratory system is engaged in a comparable way to the manner in which it is used in an indoor exercise setting. In addition, the scientific evidence has clearly pointed to the fact that speaking loudly or shouting, which happens in so many contexts, produces a similar release of aerosols. The inequity is obvious and we at Sing Ireland, cannot advocate strongly enough that immediate attention be brought to this issue and this inequality is addressed.

Sing Ireland has been advised by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that the Government is continuing to monitor the progress of the disease and of the vaccination programme during August. It will also continue to receive and consider public health advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team. It is anticipated, based on those considerations, that by the end of August, the Government will publish a national roadmap for the easing or removal of the remaining restrictions.

Sing Ireland urges singing groups and choirs to make representations to Government, and to their local representatives so that swift clarification can be brought to this wholly unsatisfactory situation.

Sing Ireland continues to make representations on behalf of the sector and advises all singing groups to monitor the Gov.ie website for all updates: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/7894b-post-cabinet-statement-resilience-and-recovery-the-path-ahead/