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Cork event businesses collaborate to highlight a ‘forgotten industry’

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Representatives from Cork event businesses have come together to offer support for colleagues in the industry who have been severely impacted by the COVID crisis, and to highlight what they say is a forgotten industry. The group are collaborating to offer support, to refer and share business where possible, and to call on the government to put some supports in place for those who simply cannot work. Pictured at The Kingsley Hotel, Cork, are: Catherine Larkin, National Event Hire; Niamh Murphy from ETC; Fergal Harte, Kingsley, and Chair of the Irish Hotels Federation Cork branch; Margaret O’Regan, Event Plan; Marie Fleming, Animal Road Show. with her owl, Betsy; Leigh Gillen, Leigh Gillen Events; Jorge Kachamari, musician, and Danny McSweeney, CAVS Cork. Photo: Michael O’Sullivan /OSM PHOTO

Representatives from Cork event businesses have come together to offer support for colleagues in the industry who have been severely impacted by the COVID crisis and to highlight what they say is a forgotten industry, as part of a national week of awareness.

Event planners, performers, musicians, venue providers, audio visual businesses, videographers, photographers, catering companies, festival organisers, tourism representatives, promoters, event marketing professionals and others are all now collaborating in Cork to see what they can do to save their sector and ensure event businesses are still around when the pandemic is over. 

A spokesperson for the group said, “We were the first to close and will be the last to reopen.  We are the forgotten industry, hidden in between the Department of Arts and the Department of Tourism.  Our colleagues do not want the wage subsidy, they want to work, but we are not even included in the roadmap for reopening businesses.

“Our industry is on its knees.  If the audio-visual companies, the sound engineers, the entertainers, the caterers and so forth have to close, who will be left when it’s all over to facilitate the festivals and events, the conferences, gigs, and parties that everyone will once again expect?  When you need us, we want to still be here, so we need to keep the industry alive”.

The group, who are genuinely passionate about the events sector, are collaborating to support those most impacted, to refer and share business where possible, and to call on the government to put some supports in place for those who simply cannot work.

Other event organisations throughout the country

Some of those involved in the initiative include Margaret O’Regan from Event Plan, Niamh Murphy from ETC (the Events, Tourism & Communications Agency), Leigh Gillen from Leigh Gillen Events, Fergal Harte from The Kingsley and Chair of the Irish Hotels Federation Cork branch, Danny McSweeney from CAVS Cork, Catherine Larkin from National Event Hire, Marie Fleming from Animal Road Show and her owl Betsy, and musician Jorge Kachamari from The Underscore Orkestra.

The Irish events industry annually generates in excess of €3.5bn towards the economy and €850m towards the Irish export market, employs an estimated 45,000 workers, and produces up to a 52:1 return on state investment.

According to the Events Industry Association of Ireland, event businesses have suffered disproportionately to all other sectors, as within weeks of the pandemic, the overwhelming majority of events scheduled for 2020 in Ireland were cancelled.

They say “The public health safeguarding measures that have been implemented by Government to date and the anticipated duration of these measures, while absolutely necessary, essentially mean that the majority of businesses, organisers and workers are simply unable to generate revenue at present and many for the foreseeable future. The situation is unprecedented and absolutely devastating – the Irish Event Industry, usually an extremely ambitious, active, and competitive industry is facing a pro-longed hibernation period which has already impacted the entire eco-system on a short, medium and long-term basis”.

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