I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 70 together.
The Deputy will be aware that a number of amendments were made to the Film tax credit in Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 as part of Finance Act 2018.
I legislated to split the certification process between Revenue and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG). Production companies are now required to apply to the DCHG before commencement of Irish production to have the film certified as a qualifying film.
As part of the application process, applicants must provide a skills development plan and, if the amount of eligible expenditure is over €2m, that plan must be agreed with Screen Ireland. Additionally, a post project skills development report is required for each project.
In terms of quality employment, the monitoring of compliance with employment rights legislation is primarily a matter for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, through the Workplace Relations Commission. However, as part of the new certification process to be undertaken by DCHG, an applicant company is required to sign an undertaking of compliance with all relevant employment legislation. This undertaking is required to be signed and furnished with every section 481 application.
These conditions shall be met not just by a producer company but also by the qualifying company or, as the Deputy has phrased it, the Designated Activity Company. If a producer does not comply with the employment and skills development requirements set out by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, any amount already claimed may be recoverable, with interest.
I have further been advised by my officials that, following a joint request by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the Services, Industry, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), and Screen Producers Ireland, the WRC has agreed to undertake an audit of the Republic of Ireland Independent Film and Television Drama Production Sector with a view to examining industrial relations generally, employment practices and procedure, assessing issues arising (if any), and making recommendations for their improvement where appropriate.
The timeframe for receiving submissions on this matter has now closed. My officials will be analysing the results of this process once a report is published.