I propose to take Questions Nos. 268 and 269 together.
As set out in the Government’s ‘Global Ireland 2025’ initiative, which was launched last year, film is a high-impact way of promoting Ireland on the global stage. Screen Ireland is the national development agency for Irish film making and the Irish film, television and animation industry. Its statutory remit is to assist and encourage the making of film in the State and the development of a film industry in Ireland. Screen Ireland supports writers, directors and production companies across these sectors by providing investment loans for the development, production and distribution of film, television and animation projects. It has a vision for a vibrant, creative and sustainable Irish film, television and animation industry, with diverse voices, talent and opportunities which speaks to and connects Irish film culture with audiences at home and abroad.
Screen Ireland also works in conjunction with the enterprise agencies to support the development of the film sector to make a substantial contribution to inward investment. It promotes Ireland as a location for international production by providing advice and support for international companies seeking to locate production activity to Ireland, organising inward and outward trade missions on an annual basis and working in partnership with EU counterparts on co-productions. In April 2018, I joined with the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, in launching my Department’s capital investment plan: 'Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 - 2027’. This plan incorporated an amount of €200m to be invested in media production and the audiovisual industry over the next 10 years and represented a first step in the Government’s ambitions to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of film, TV drama and animation. The investment will be delivered through Screen Ireland whose budget for 2019 was increased to €20 million.
Government policy also supports the sector through Section 481 tax relief, international film co-production treaties, an annual international programme of Irish film festivals, and through engaging high-profile talent to project a positive image of Ireland and reflect Ireland as a creative place. Earlier this year, I was pleased to welcome EU Commission approval in respect of two aspects of Irelands tax credit: the extension of the Section 481 credit until 2024 provides certainty for film production companies on the future availability of the credit, ensuring the continued growth of our film industry. It is a key recommendation in the Audiovisual Action Plan, the industry-wide, long-term plan, under the Creative Ireland Programme. A further key measure under the Plan saw the introduction of the Regional Film Development Uplift which offers an additional tapered tax credit over a period of 4 years. This is an important step in support of this Government’s ambition to make Ireland a global hub for the production of Film, TV Drama and Animation in supporting creative talent in Ireland and helping to develop a vibrant creative audio-visual sector throughout the country.
I will continue to work to support the development and expansion of the film and television production sector. In that regard my Department will continue to work with Screen Ireland to ensure that Ireland is maximised as a location for both indigenous and international film production.