Tom Hickey – A Tribute

The passing of Tom Hickey, an Actor and Director of such special qualities, has left the theatre world bereft of a very special talent. The dedication towards his chosen profession that Tom showed, produced a lengthy, successful career and the well-earned respect of peers and audiences alike.

His training, and subsequent involvement with Deirdre O’Connell at the Focus Theatre, paved the way for the success he gained in all aspects of the profession. His unselfish approach manifested itself with his founding of the Four in One Players, and his involvement in the Project Arts Centre, that created employment for so many actors over the years. Even when he was heavily involved in becoming a household name as Benjy in RTE Television’s, The Riordans, he still found time to mount extensive and long-running theatre tours.

His monumental performances in the plays of Tom Murphy, Frank McGuinness and Tom McIntyre, won him deserved awards, but Tom remained a true colleague, retained his great sense of fun and his wonderful sense of the absurd. The intensity of his performances were well tempered by his off-stage humour and camaraderie. To really get to know someone, you have to live closely with them for a prolonged period of time, and touring with Tom was always eventful, fun-packed and never dull. Working with him was a joy, watching him perform, a transportation into the world he had fashioned from the anvil of a marvellous ability.

Tom thoroughly merited the accolade of “one of Ireland’ greatest actors”, and has left an immense legacy, not only in the volume of work he produced, but also in the number of performers who learned so much from him and, to whom he meant so much.

“What feats he did…be in our flowing cups, freshly remembered!” (Henry V)

Laurence Foster
May 2nd 2021

Lee Dunne – A Tribute

Lee Dunne, a great friend and colleague to so many, sadly passed away on Saturday, 10th April. One of Ireland’s most prolific authors as well as a playwright, director and actor, Lee has left an impressive volume of work as his legacy. 

Born in Ranelagh, Dublin in 1934, his early years were spent in poverty and deprivation and these were the catalyst for many of his works. Hard working and hard living, his novels were controversial and he had the “honour” of being the last writer to be banned in Ireland. 

It took 34 years, until 2006, before “Paddy Maguire is Dead” was made available in bookshops in the Republic of Ireland.

Like many before him, Lee had to relocate to England to find employment, turning his hand to many trades while writing, before earning enough to return home. 

He had more than fifteen film and TV credits and wrote over two thousand episodes of daily serials for RTE Radio. 

His early experience as a touring actor and keen ear for natural dialogue enabled him to adapt many of his works for stage and radio. He produced many himself, and “Goodbye to the Hill” provided much work for acting colleagues when it broke all records for the longest running stage play in Dublin and was often revived.

He will be greatly missed by everyone and his like will rarely be seen again. His latter years were clouded by the onset of dementia, bravely borne with the loving care of his wife, Maura. Vincent Smith, Lee’s long-time colleague and producer, was also a constant support.

Lee’s empathy, good humour, indomitable spirit and lifelong friendships were the keynote to a long, fruitful and hard-won career.

Universal Basic Income for the Arts

Workers in our arts, culture, live performance and events industry need this emergency support if they are to survive this crisis and rebuild our creative futures to sustain and unite people in a post covid world. Sign the petition today.

Irish Equity seeks meeting with Fine Gael leadership following voiceover debacle

Irish Equity seeks meeting with Fine Gael leadership following voiceover debacle

Date Released: 12 March 2021

Members of Irish Equity have today (Friday, 12th March) written to the chairperson of Fine Gael requesting an urgent meeting with the party leadership following media reports that the party has posted a series of ill-judged requests across social media aimed at Irish film, television and radio workers.

SIPTU Sector and Irish Equity Organiser, Martin O’Rourke said: “These posts lack even a basic understanding of the nature and quality of the work that voiceover artists perform. Media reports claim that job advertisements were posted across social media platforms advising that Fine Gael needed both a male and female voice “with an Irish-country accent” for a “quick” voiceover.  We understand that one of the adverts stated that applicants would be paid €50 less VAT for their services. Our members are demanding that Fine Gael clarify if they indeed stand over paying voiceover artists such paltry wages.”

He added: “SIPTU representatives have sought a meeting with the chairperson of Fine Gael, Richard Bruton TD, so that we can discuss the matter and to advise him of most pressing and pertinent issues facing artists in Ireland. Poor pay and a lack of real supports will be at the top of the agenda.”

Irish Equity President, Padraig Murray, said: “We are calling on Fine Gael to meet with us urgently to discuss what real solutions the Government proposes to address the low pay and precarious work crisis across our industry. The pilot for a Universal Basic Income Scheme over a three-year period in the arts, culture, audio visual, live performance and events sectors must get off the ground quickly and we are calling on the Government to make it happen.”

Life Worth Living: The Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce

Life Worth Living – The Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce. Read the full report

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.

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.”


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