Last Friday the Irish Times broke the story that the Commission on Taxation made 250 recommendations for changes in taxation in Ireland, which included scrapping the Artists Tax Exemption.
Just a month ago the same newspaper reported that there was little windfall to be made from this move. Since the exemption was capped two years ago any artist making a living over €250,000 a year has been paying taxes.
Only 21 artists earned between €500,000 and €1 million, and a further 27 artists earned between €250,000 and €500,000.
Therefore only 48 artists in this country earn over the current cap of €250,000.
A further 129 artists earn in the €100,000 to €250,000 income bracket.
The majority of people registered on the scheme - that's 1,366 artists - earn less than €10,000 a year and the tax lost to the State as a result of their claims is less than €1 million.
While a case can be made for reducing the cap on the exemption, scrapping it entirely will hit the medium group the hardest: those who are barely making a living wage because they are not paying taxes on their income.
It's incredible that in 1969, when our country was hardly affluent, Charlie Haughey had the foresight to establish the Artists Tax Exemption. Through that initiative he established Ireland as a country friendly to the Arts, and which valued creative people's contribution to society.
I'm reminded of the first stanza of Yeats's poem "September 1913":
What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone?
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.