People in Ireland are being asked to shine a light for healthcare workers and the sick on Easter Saturday, April 11.

The Irish government announced the “Shine Your Light” initiative, which was created by RTÉ, as part of a larger plan to support Ireland’s artistic and cultural life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Starting from 9 pm on Saturday, public buildings, as well as Irish embassies and peacekeeping posts around the world, will be illuminated, and the public is encouraged to shine a light or light a candle from the windows of their homes to pay tribute to those “keeping us going through these dark times.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, who announced the “Shine Your Light” initiative on Friday, April 3, said there had been an outpouring of creative responses to the pandemic, especially online.

“We have taken extraordinary and unprecedented measures, closing our places of learning, our cafes, pubs, theatres, galleries and venues, and our cultural institutions and curtailing access to our national parks and nature reserves,” she said, according to BreakingNews.ie.

“These actions are slowing the spread of COVID-19, flattening the curve.

“They are reducing the pressure on our hospitals, saving countless lives.

“In the midst of this, there has been an outpouring of creative and artistic responses to our new circumstances.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan. Credit: RollingNews.ie

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan. Credit: RollingNews.ie

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A range of measures was launched on Friday to support the arts community and the artistic and cultural life of the public during the pandemic, The Irish Times reports.

Madigan said: “We are supporting the arts community at this difficult time.”

"We are also supporting opportunities for creativity at home. We can all use the resources of arts and culture to get creative, to have fun with creativity and to learn a new creative skill.

"I am confident that arts, culture and creativity will play an important role in bringing healing to the nation as we emerge from this unprecedented challenge.

"The Government response to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector is based on two principles.

"Firstly, it is extremely important that we deploy all means at our disposal to protect the incomes of people who work in this sector so that they can produce work that will continue to enrich our cultural lives.

"Secondly, recognizing that creative activity supports wellbeing, it is important that we develop innovative and imaginative initiatives to bring arts and creative engagement directly into our homes and lives."

At the briefing, Arts Council chairman Kevin Rafter announced a €1m ($1.08m) fund to support Irish-based professional artists creating new painting, music, writing, photography, and sculpture. Successful applicants will be awarded €3,000 ($3,240) each, RTÉ reports.

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