The 2009 budget for Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has been announced by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism as €19.3 million for 2010 which represents a 5% cut from the 2009 budget allocation.
Following the recommendations in the Report of Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (‘An Bord Snip Nua’) for the abolition of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board in August 2009, a detailed examination of the strategic importance of the Irish film and television sector was carried out. This process resulted in a clear affirmation of the economic importance of Ireland’s content production industries in the context of the emerging Smart Economy in Ireland and the key role the IFB plays in developing this sector.
Commenting on the Government decision to continue the existence of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, the Chairman, James Morris, said: ‘I would like to acknowledge the role of the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen in supporting the Irish Film Industry and the work of the Irish Film Board as the industry development agency. The support of the Government for Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board is a strong endorsement of the economic value of the film and television production sector to the emerging digital economy. It is also an acknowledgement of the cultural value of Irish artistic and creative work in building Ireland’s international profile that emerged as a major conclusion of the Global Irish Economic Forum in Farmleigh earlier this year.’
Government funding, provided directly to the sector through the IFB is a key component of the entire audiovisual content industry. The 2010 budget for the IFB will ensure that the core work of the agency to support the development and production of indigenous film to be sustained at 2009 levels.
The continuation of Section 481, the Irish tax incentive for film and television, which has also been retained until the end of 2012, will also further help to restore Ireland’s competitive edge as a location for international film production, generating economic activity well in excess of any cost incurred.
A recent survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers valued Ireland’s audiovisual content industry at over half a billion euro per annum and found that it now offers permanent employment to over 6,000 individuals. The industry in turn supports an ecology that generates many other indirect employment benefits arising out of production activities around the country.
The funding provided through the IFB in turn allows Irish companies working within the sector to attract additional international investment, which is spent on Irish jobs and local services. The audio visual industry is an important aspect of the Irish economy and has the potential to create growth and jobs in the future.