Thursday, 19 September 2019

Questions (30)

Niamh Smyth


30. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the provisions her Department has put in place to protect the film and television industry in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37880/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Many of the key concerns for the arts and culture sector, encompassing the film and television industry arising from a no-deal Brexit are not sector specific - they relate to the implications of exchange rate movements and free movement of people, goods and services on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and the UK. As the Deputy will be aware, the Government published a Contingency Action Plan in December 2018 setting out its approach to dealing with a no-deal Brexit with an updated report launched in July 2019. In addition, in May this year, the Irish and UK Governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming a joint commitment to the Common Travel Area (CTA), and to maintaining the associated rights and privileges of Irish and British citizens under this long-standing arrangement. However, Brexit is a major strategic challenge to Ireland as a whole and there remains a range of potential outcomes that depend on the exact nature of the future relationship between the UK and Europe. With 6 weeks to go until a possible no deal Brexit, it is vital that the film and television industry, like all others, step up preparations.

In relation specifically to the cultural sector, the Government has increased investment in arts and culture in recent years in part as a mitigation measure against Brexit. This includes funding of over €20m for Screen Ireland in 2019 as part of a €200m Audiovisual Action Plan. A key recommendation of the Audiovisual Action Plan was that Ireland should sign up the revised European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production which would allow a straightforward mechanism of facilitating potential co-productions which would otherwise not be feasible. In May this year, Ireland signed and ratified the treaty which has also been signed by the UK. While it has not yet ratified the revised Convention, the decision by the UK to sign it has been regarded by some as symbolic of its determination to continued cooperation with European countries, and other international territories, on a multilateral basis in the audiovisual sector, regardless of the outcome of Brexit. The UK will still remain members of the Council of Europe and will therefore still be parties to the European Convention on Cinematographic Coproduction, the treaty under which most European Co-productions involving Screen Ireland funding are made.

It is possible the Brexit will offer opportunities to Ireland as the only major English-language market that will remain in the EU and, in that regard, my Department, through its role in implementing the Audiovisual Action Plan, continues its work to support the Government’s ambition to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of film, TV drama and animation.