Thursday, 21 February 2019

Questions (19)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

19. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will report on her efforts to establish a film stakeholders forum to resolve ongoing disputes and issues across the industry; the stakeholders she has engaged with; the willingness of these groups to take part in such a forum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8678/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on the Development and Working Conditions in the Irish Film Industry recommended in July that Screen Ireland (formerly the Irish Film Board) constitute a Film Forum, with an independent Chair, in order to allow all stakeholders within the sector to meet and work together to develop mutually beneficial solutions for the industry. 

Screen Ireland has been endeavouring to organise the Forum and had drawn up a list of all stakeholders to invite to the Forum.  These include representatives of workers in the industry which include:

- The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

- SIPTU

- Irish Film Workers Association (IFWA)

- GMBh Trade Union

- Screen Guilds of Ireland

The emergence of disputes between stakeholders have, however, impeded progress on the Forum.  I understand that following the transmission of an RTÉ Prime Time programme on the film industry, ICTU and SIPTU stated that they would not attend a Forum to which the Irish Film Workers Association is invited, and that the Screen Guilds of Ireland gave a similar response.  Based on the ICTU position, Screen Producers Ireland also indicated that it would not attend. 

It is important to underline that the State has formal institutional arrangements for the resolution of disputes in all industries.  The audiovisual industry is not exempt from these arrangements which consist of the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.  The Film Form on the other hand is intended to have a developmental role in the industry.  The Oireachtas Committee specifically called for the constitution of a forum to allow all stakeholders within the sector to meet and work together to develop mutually beneficial solutions for the industry.

In the meantime, my Department along with other relevant Government Departments and State Agencies are working together in the form of the Audiovisual High Level Steering Group to bring an all-of-government approach to the implementation of the Government's Audiovisual Action Plan.  The Steering Group also seeks to address issues raised in the audiovisual industry, and to support the industry and the people who work in it.