I am very pleased that, notwithstanding the fact that section 35 was due to expire this year, the revised section 35 package which was provided for under the Finance Act. 1996, ensures that a system of tax incentives for film-making in Ireland is now assured up to 1999. The Deputy will appreciate that this positive outcome of the review of section 35 will facilitate producers to exploit the incentives over the next three years with the security of knowing that they will remain in place over that period.
Films locate in different countries for a wide variety of reasons, both objective and subjective. Accordingly, it is inevitable that some projects for which Ireland may have been shortlisted, will not end up being made here. Factors such as location, personal preference of the director, local and national incentives being offered in the contending countries, and the availability of key creative personnel, all contribute to the outcome. For this reason it is not possible to assign a single cause for decisions as to whether or not to locate a film in Ireland, nor can I comment as to whether film personnel have been lost to Ireland as a result of the revised package.
I believe that the revision of the section 35 scheme has had a number of effects. In line with the December 1995, analysis of the economic consultants INDECON, the new scheme involves less costs to the Exchequer; it places a particular and welcome emphasis on indigenous production; it has increased the potential investor pool in the State; it still provides a substantial incentive for bigger budget films; and it includes an incentive for production in off-peak periods during the months of October to February inclusive.