Dáil Éireann - Volume 628 - 30 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Film Industry Development.

Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will review incentives for the film industry in view of the drop in major film production here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40875/06]

Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he has had discussions with the [1692] Department of Finance in regard to the extension of Section 481 film relief in Budget 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40814/06]

  Mr. O’Donoghue: I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 24 together.

I refer the Deputies to my reply of 26 October last in relation to the incentives available for film production in the State. As I set out in my previous reply, attracting major international productions to the State is a particularly complex business, subject, as it is, to the dynamics of international competition, including new and enhanced incentives, lower cost structures and exchange rates.

My Department’s primary role in supporting the film sector relates to the administration of elements of the Section 481 tax relief scheme. Recognising the changing dynamics of this industry, the Government introduced significant improvements to the Section 481 scheme, as recently as the Finance Act 2006. These changes lifted the maximum amount of a film budget that can be raised from €15m. to €35m. and increased the maximum percentage of a project’s budget that can be raised from between 55% — 66% to 80%. These changes, designed to increase Ireland’s attractiveness as a film-making location, represented the most comprehensive enhancements ever in the scheme.

In conjunction with the Irish Film Board, the total effects of these initiatives are constantly kept under review. Further consideration of the operation of the Section 481 scheme will have to be based on the experience over time of these most recent changes. If deemed appropriate, the matter will be taken up with the Minister for Finance at the relevant time, together with any other available effective proposals, to further promote Ireland’s competitiveness as an attractive film location.