Liberties Creative Campus

Dublin City Council is consulting on the feasibility of ambitious plans to bring forward a “creative campus” in the heart of the Liberties area of Dublin 8.

The proposals are part of an Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) regeneration project that aims to deliver new workspace for artists within the city. In total three initial council owned sites have been identified, at Bridgefoot Street and at 8 and 9 Merchants Quay (the site of the former Little St Anthony’s Theatre).

The vision of the project is to jointly develop the sites and properties, and partnering with existing organisations in Dublin 8, such as the existing NCAD site, to form a campus for the arts and cultural sector that will also deliver new community facilities and public spaces.

To browse the concept plans please click here.

Click here to have your say
Please note the deadline for feedback is Wednesday 03 March 2021.

Irish Equity note on the 2021 Feature Film Agreement

Context

Irish Equity has been the subject of criticism for many years due to the “buyout” nature of Irish contracts in the independent film and TV sector. This meant that actors got paid additional monies up front to buy out all rights, so they never got a share in the sale of a production or in the success of a production. This share of a sale/success is usually referred to as royalties, use fees or back end payments. This criticism came from Equity members, agents and other international actor unions such as SAG AFTRA in the USA, ACTRA in Canada and Equity UK as well as many other English-speaking territories, whereby Ireland was increasingly viewed as a dumping ground for productions that wanted to walk away with all of the future rights that actors rightly hold.

Overview

This issue has been the subject of debate within Irish Equity for many years while we demanded fairer treatment from the producers for actors and endeavoured to break this “buyout” cycle. This was first achieved in 2015 with the TV drama agreement where a 2-tier licencing system (5 years or 10 years) was agreed with ongoing payments to actors for the re licencing of productions thereafter and a share in any sales.

At the Irish Equity AGM 2015, the members passed a motion to ensure that Equity policy would be to have back end payments included in any agreement signed in the future.

Subsequently in 2019, the Docudrama agreement was agreed and that contains a 2-tier structure also (10 years or 15 years) was agreed with ongoing payments to actors for the re licencing of productions thereafter and a share in any sales.

The 2021 feature film agreement was discussed with Irish Equity members at our AGM in November 2020. The agreement was voted on and accepted by the members at the meeting as it follows the member led policy of creating a backend structure. This back end Agreement reflects the back end Film Agreement currently in use by Equity UK and is about shifting emphasis from up front single payments to building back end structures to create future income streams for members, in keeping with international best practice.

Feature Film Detail

This member led policy from 2015 was followed with the 2021 Feature Film Agreement. The Royalty Payment structure is aligned with the PACT/Equity UK agreements and contain 3 tiers.

Tier 1 is for Films with a global budget of €2.5 million and over – it should be noted that the eligible spend for the 120 feature films made in Ireland between 2015 and 2019 was between €1,428,213 and €3,191,501. The eligible spend is the figure mostly used in calculations on film and TV productions in Ireland, but this is usually only a fraction of the cost as it refers only to monies actually spent in production in Ireland. The €2.5 million referred to in Tier one is a global budget which means that even if a production only spends €1 million (€1 million eligible spend) in Ireland but €2.5 million or more in total (even if it is spent outside Ireland in post-production or special effects etc), then that production falls into the Tier 1 category.

Tier 2 – is for feature films with a global budget of between €1.25 million and 2.5 million. The minimum daily performance fee of €158 and minimum weekly rate of €632 remains unchanged. The ‘buyout’ element here however is adjusted to 75% in return for a higher profit share of 5% of 100% net profit. This means that the 5% is not from the producer’s share of profit but from the full amount of profit. This transfers money from the upfront buyout to the backend for the long term. Once the production reaches net profit (covers its cost of production) then the payment will be due to actors over the full lifetime of copyright which is currently 50 years. Every time the production is relicensed, sold or streamed, then 5% of this will revert to the actor’s pool.

Tier 3 – is for feature films with a global budget of under €1.25 The minimum daily performance fee of €158 and minimum weekly rate of €632 remains unchanged. The ‘buyout’ element here however is adjusted to 50% in return for a profit share of 5% of 100% net profit. This means that the 5% is not from the producer’s share of profit but from the full amount of profit. This transfers money from the upfront buyout to the backend for the long term. Once the production reaches net profit (covers its cost of production) the payment will be due to actors over the full lifetime of copyright which is currently 50 years. Every time the production is relicensed, sold or streamed, 5% of this will revert to the actor’s pool.

Please note that this backend structure is broadly reflective of the PACT/Equity UK agreement that many Irish actors have been working to with the exception that the Irish budget levels are much lower as the Irish high budget is in excess of €2.5 million and the UK low budget is £3 million and under.

All terms outlined in the film agreement are minimum terms. Any actor and/or agent is free to negotiate above these minimums based on the experience and standing of the actor concerned. We at Irish Equity accept that these sorts of backend agreement can be challenging for agents, especially those agents that do not have experience of contracts that don’t buy out all the rights up front. It can be difficult to manage commission on payments that go directly to actors when they normally come straight to the agent. Actors therefore should expect that agent will want to make some agreement with them on how this matter will be handled.

Clause 28 – Nudity

This clause reflects the wording from the 2015 TV Agreement (clause 27) and 2019 Docudrama Agreement (clause 27). These clauses are an important part of any agreement as nudity of often part of the script so there needs to be rules and structure around how it is dealt with. These clauses however are specifically designed to give protection to actors both during the audition and shooting process.

Collection and Distribution of monies

Actors should ensure that they are members of a registered collecting society so that money arising from the Irish feature films agreement can be collected for them and distributed to them. In this regard, Recorded Artists Actors Performers (RAAP) is the recommended collection society for this agreement. Information on WRAP can be found here https://www.raap.ie/

Further Queries

If any Equity member has any other questions on this film agreement, please contact us directly on equity@siptu.ie or on 01 8586403.

Rynagh O’Grady Tribute

Irish Equity has lost another great stalwart with the sudden death of actress, Rynagh O’Grady. She was a concerned activist for both Irish Equity and British Equity for many years. Born in Dublin in 1954, Rynagh trained at the Abbey School of acting in 1969 and made her debut there in The Becauseway. In the 1970s, she worked extensively in England in television, making 43 appearances – who could forget her Mary O’Leary in Father Ted? – and performed many leading theatre roles. Returning to Dublin in the 1980s, she was a member of the Executive Committee of Irish Equity, working tirelessly for performer’s rights. One of her last appearances was in the Abbey Theatre production of The Unmanageable Sisters. Rynagh also formed an action group, ARRO, to protect the rights of performers to their recorded material. The world of entertainment has lost a considerable talent and a powerful advocate for actors, performers and members of Equity. Rynagh will be greatly missed.

SIPTU confirms new collective agreement for independent live action film and television crew

SIPTU representatives have today (7th December) confirmed that proposals for a new collective agreement for live action film and television crew have been accepted in a ballot of union members. 

SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “This new agreement will come into operation in January 2021 and covers all grades except film construction which is subject to separate negotiations. 

“This is a good day for independent production crew. The proposals have been accepted by 83% of crew on a return of almost 70% of ballot papers. This level of support gives the agreement a very solid foundation for workers in the industry. The proposals have also been accepted by producers and we will now move quickly to set up a joint monitoring group which will oversee the implementation of the agreement and its practical operation on the ground.” 

She added: “Great credit is due to the film crew members who, as part of their SIPTU committee, worked tirelessly over the last two years to ensure we could get an agreement that is modernised and fit for purpose. This agreement deals with all aspects of day to day work for crew, enables producers to compete for work internationally and provides a pay structure that will bring stability to the industry for the next three to five years.”

Equity welcomes basic income scheme for Arts’ workers

Irish Equity has welcomed the proposal to introduce a basic income scheme for workers in the Arts sector. The scheme is among a range of supports for artists and performers which are proposed in the report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force and which was accepted by the Government today. 

It will provide a tax-free payment for up to 55,000 arts workers and performers to cover their essential living costs during the current Pandemic. It would also allow them to earn taxable income when performance work becomes available. 

Karan O Loughlin of Irish Equity said: 

“Irish Equity welcomes this significant report. We have long been advocating a basic income scheme for artists and arts workers to provide them with the security required for a sustainable career. The Arts is a largely low pay sector, particularly so in the live performance area. This report recognises the uniqueness of the Arts and we now encourage the Government to act quickly on the recommendations so badly needed for the survival and development of the sector.

“We also welcome the introduction of a capital fund for local authorities to adapt and equip public spaces for cultural activities to compensate for the loss of indoor venues due to Covid-19 restrictions. The report also proposes the implementation of new copyright directives which will create a fairer value for the work of Arts workers in the future.”

READ THE FULL REPORT

Irish Equity Remembrance Page

Irish Equity are creating a remembrance page to remember and celebrate the lives of deceased members of our profession. We are looking for your help with this. If you have any information which you think might be useful, please email us at irishequity2020@gmail.com

Budget 2021 and the Arts

See relevant information here:

Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
The new weekly payment structure is as below:

  • for individuals who earn €400 and over- the rate of payment is €350
  • for individuals who earn between €300 and €399.99 per week – the rate of payment is €300 
  • for individuals who earn between €200 and €299.99 per week – the rate of payment is €250 
  • for individuals who earn less than €200 per week – the rate of payment is €203 
    More information on the PUP can be found here.
    Christmas Bonus
    A Christmas Bonus of 100% will be paid in early December 2020 to people getting a long-term social welfare payment (minimum payment €20).
    The bonus will also be paid to people getting PUP and jobseeker’s payments for at least 4 months.

Update to Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
Changes to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme were announced last night. The new weekly payment structure is below. 

  • for individuals earning between 0 and €151- no subsidy €0
  • for individuals earning >€151 < €203 – the rate of payment is €203
  • for individuals earning >€203 < €300 – the rate of payment is €250
  • for individuals earning >€300 < €400 – the rate of payment €300
  • for individuals earning >€400< €1,462- the rate of payment is €350
    We are awaiting Revenue’s update publication on the scheme, pending that more detail can be found here.
     
    Debt warehousing for self-assessed taxpayers
    The tax debt warehousing scheme will be extended to taxpayers who self-assess for income tax that are adversely impacted by Covid-19. Impacted taxpayers who cannot pay their 2019 balance and preliminary tax for 2020 can defer payment for 12 months. If income for 2021 is also at least 25% lower than income for 2019, the balance of 2020 balance and 2021 Preliminary Tax can also be warehoused. Debts that are warehoused are subject to 0% interest for 12 months. After this 12-month period, a reduced interest rate of 3% per annum will apply and no surcharge will apply. More information can be found here https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/ebrief/2020/no-1902020.aspx
    https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/ebrief/2020/no-1902020.aspx
     
    Income Tax
    There are no changes to the standard or higher rate income tax bands.
    The Earned Income Tax Credit for the self-employed will increase from €1,500 to €1,650. This increase will also be applied for the 2020 tax year.
    The Dependent Relative Tax Credit will increase from €70 to €245.
     
    Universal Social Charge (USC)
    The ceiling of the 2% band will increase from €20,484 to €20,687, so that the salary of a full-time worker on the minimum wage will remain outside the higher rates of USC.
    The weekly income threshold for the higher rate of employer’s PRSI will increase from €394 to €398 to ensure that there is no incentive to reduce the working hours for a full-time employee on the increased minimum wage.
    Medical card holders will continue to pay a reduced rate of USC until the end of December 2021.
     
    Payments to families
    The weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €36 to €38 for children under 12 years of age. It will increase by €5 from €40 to €45 for children aged 12 years and over (from January 2021).
  • The One-Parent Family Payment earnings threshold of €425 will be removed (from April 2021).
  • Working Family Payment income thresholds will increase by €10 per week for families with up to 3 children (from January 2021).
  • Parent’s Benefit will be extended by 3 weeks from 2 weeks to 5 weeks for parents of children born or adopted from November 2019. The period it can be taken will be extended up to your child’s second birthday or within 2 years following adoption (from April 2021).
  • The Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant will increase by €2,000 from €6,000 to €8,000 (from January 2021).
  • Disability and illness payments
    The number of waiting days for Illness Benefit will be reduced from 6 days to 3 days on new claims (from the end of February 2021).
    The earnings disregard for Disability Allowance will increase by €20 per week from €120 to €140 per week (from June 2021).
    A grant of up to €500 to buy hearing aids and up to €100 towards repairs will be provided under the Treatment Benefit Scheme without requiring a matching payment by the claimant (from April 2021).
     
    State pension age
    The qualifying age for a State pension will continue to be 66. Legislation will be introduced later in 2020 to reverse the increase in pension age to 67 currently included in social welfare legislation.

    Fuel Allowance
    The Fuel Allowance will increase by €3.50 per week from €24.50 to €28 (from January 2021).

    Living Alone Increase
    The Living Alone Increase will increase by €5 per week from €14 to €19 (from January 2021).
     
    Increase for living on a specified island

    The Increase for living on a specified island will increase by €7.30 from €12.70 to €20 per week (from January 2021).
     
    Carers
    The Carer’s Support Grant will increase by €150 from €1,700 to €1,850 per year (from June 2021)
     
    COVID-19 Business supports

    The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will continue until 31 March 2021. Supports under a similar scheme are likely to continue from 1 April 2021. The Government has applied to the EU SURE fund (the European Instrument for Temporary Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks) for additional funding. This fund is part of the European response to help protect jobs and workers affected by COVID-19.
     
    Any employer who received excess amounts of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme must refund the overpayment to Revenue. An employer may be unable to repay the overpayment immediately, due to the impact of Covid-19 on their business, and the existing tax debt warehousing scheme will be expanded to include these repayments.
     
    The Covid Enterprise Support Grant payments have been extended until 31 March 2021. The grant is worth up to €1,000 and is aimed at sole traders who got the Government’s Restart Grant Plus.
    The waiving of commercial rates due to local authorities has been extended until the end of 2020 to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.
     
    Other COVID-19 supports include:
  • €39 million in continued access to low cost loans for business
  • €30 million for applied research in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry
  • €10 million to help businesses move online with the Online Retail Scheme
     
    COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)

    A new COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) has been set up, aimed at businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
    Qualifying businesses can apply to Revenue for a cash payment. The maximum weekly payment will be €5,000. The scheme is aimed at those in the accommodation, food and arts, recreation and entertainment sectors. If the Government decides to move to a higher level of restrictions then other sectors may qualify.
    The scheme will run from 13 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.
    The following measures will apply:
  • Payments will be made when Level 3 restrictions or higher are in place in line with the Plan for Living with COVID-19
  • Businesses will qualify where government restrictions directly prohibit or restrict customer access to their premises
  • Payments will be calculated on the basis of 10% of the first €1 million in turnover and 5% thereafter, based on average VAT exclusive turnover for 2019
  • A self- assessment of 80% disruption in turnover will be required

Irish Equity calls for more support for Arts workers

Irish Equity has said that Budget 2021 does not provide enough support for artists, theatre and entertainment workers.

Karan O Loughlin, Irish Equity Organiser, said: “While the announcement by Arts minister, Catherine Martin, of critical investment in the Arts is broadly welcome, there is not enough focus on retaining artists and arts workers in the sector.

“Artists and workers are being prevented from working because of the restrictions on gatherings and they need urgent and ongoing financial support. With the Arts, Culture and Entertainment expected to be hit harder by job losses than any other sector of the economy, funding must targeted towards those artists and creatives who are most exposed. 

“Irish Equity seeks to ensure that the funding announced in the budget promptly and directly benefits our members including actors, directors and theatre makers, dancers, designers, stage managers and other creatives. These people are the backbone of the creative industry. We also want to see funding channelled into building sustainability in the Arts.   

“For Irish Equity representatives, negotiations on better pay and conditions are just one feature of our work and we also campaign for a sustainable environment for workers. Being a member of the union is even more important for those employed in the Arts and Entertainment as this public health crisis continues.”  

Karan O’Loughlin was speaking at the release of a promotional video created by Irish Equity and highlighting the importance of the work done by the union on behalf of its members. 

The video features some of Ireland’s finest acting talent, discussing why membership of Irish Equity is important and the protections it offers them in the frequently precarious freelance world.  It also demonstrates the rich and rapidly growing diversity among the membership of Irish Equity.

Watch the video now

Irish Equity Housing Survey

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause utter devastation right across the Arts, more and more performers, theatre makers and practitioners, musicians, entertainers, events and other workers are continuing to feel the financial strain of not being able to meet their obligations and in particular, their rent. 

In the link below, we have created a short survey to gather information to make the case for specific rent supports for your sector as it was the first to shut down and will in all likelihood be the last to reopen. We have harrowing testimonials from some artists about their accommodation situation before this pandemic but the shut sown of the sector has further exacerbated their situation.  

If you are in a rented property please take a few minutes to click on the link (its also phone friendly) and share it with other artists and arts workers.

Click here to fill out the survey

Level 3 – What this means for the Arts

The Government Roadmap Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 can be found here https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/roadmap/

What does the Government Roadmap mean for the Arts on level 3 

Organised indoor gatherings – These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager. For example: business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport). Under level 3 – No organised indoor gatherings should take place.

Organised outdoor gatherings – These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager. For example: outdoor arts events, training events. Under level 3 – Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions – Under level 3 – All venues closed. Libraries will be available for e-services and call and collect.

Bars, cafes and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars):- Under level 3 – These venues may remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining or service to an absolute maximum of 15 people except Dublin where wet pubs in Dublin are to remain closed. All Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.