I move amendment No. 2:
In page 4, between lines 3 and 4, to insert the following:
"(2) In so far as it considers it appropriate, the Board shall have regard to the need for the expression of national culture through the medium of film-making.".
During the Committee Stage also a number of Deputies recommended that the Bill should contain some reference to what I might refer to as an Irish dimension. In the course of my Second Stage speech, I indicated that there were certain difficulties in incorporating such a reference and that the original text of the Bill had been drafted deliberately in very broad terms. I am aware that the pressure to incorporate such an amendment comes mainly from a number of independent Irish film-makers who considered they should have a statutory right to the overwhelming part of the film finance fund. As I have said on innumerable occasions, I recognise that the board and the film finance fund should be used in part to further native film-making talent. Indeed, this is one of the principal reasons I proposed the establishment of an independent film board. However, one cannot disregard the interests of the National Film Studios and, for that reason, it seems to me it would be inappropriate to impose any statutory obligation on the board to favour any specific group and that it is most appropriate to leave it to the discretion of the board to decide which projects should be supported.
On Committee Stage I said I was prepared, if the parliamentary draftsman could come up with the appropriate words, to introduce an amendment on Report Stage containing a non-binding reference to an Irish dimension. I might add it has been extremely difficult to come up with a suitable amendment. The difficulty was in relation to the incorporation of the expression "film culture" as proposed in the amendment of Deputies Quinn and Desmond on Committee Stage. In the opinion of the draftsman, the expression "film culture" is a jargon phrase or a colloqialism which could be used in the precise context of a statute. In order to include an appropriate reference to an Irish dimension the draftsman borrowed from the phraseology of section 17 of the Broadcasting Authority Act, 1960, where the expression "national culture" is used. The parliamentary draftsman is satisfied that the amendment now proposed is a non-binding one which nevertheless gives expression to an Irish dimension. I have some misgivings about the nature of this amendment and the fact that I am prepared to accommodate as far as possible the views of the Deputies and the independent Irish film-makers indicates I am adopting a reasonable and open-minded approach to this matter.