Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 19 October, 2006

Written Answers. - Broadcasting Regulation.

Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the incentives or policy guidelines in place to ensure maximisation of Irish based radio and television productions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33691/06]

  Mr. N. Dempsey: My core policy objectives for the development of the broadcasting sector are detailed in my Department’s Statement of Strategy, 2005-07. These objectives are to create an environment that encourages the maintenance of high quality Irish radio and television services by both independent broadcasters and RTÉ, to secure a viable future for high quality public service broadcasting and to seek to retain access to a range of high quality programming in analogue and digital form, on a universal and free-to-air basis.

In this context, the Broadcasting (Funding) Act 2003 encourages both private and public broadcasters to include additional programming of a particular character in their programme schedules.

On 13th October 2005, I wrote to the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) formally approving the scheme entitled Sound & Vision.

This scheme can be used to support the development of additional programmes on Irish culture, heritage and experience; programmes aimed at improving adult literacy and in the Irish language. The Act also provides that the scheme may be used for the development of an archive of programme material produced in the State. The scheme is open to broadcasters and independent producers.

The amount payable annually under Section 4(2) of the Broadcasting (Funding) Act 2003, is equal to five per cent of net receipts of broadcasting licence fees. The amount available under the [2125] scheme at the beginning of 2006 stood at in excess of €25m.

The first round of funding of Sound & Vision announced by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland in February 2006 saw the allocation of a total of €11m in funding for programming. This first funding round allocated €10.5m to thirty-seven television projects and €0.5m to forty-five radio initiatives.

A second round, under the Sound and Vision scheme, was launched by the BCI in March 2006 and has seen the allocation of in excess of €10m; €9.59m has been allocated to thirty-nine television projects and €0.468m to forty-one radio initiatives.

The BCI propose a third round of funding before the end of 2006.