Friday 20 October 2017

Here's how Brexit will affect hit TV shows like 'Game of Thrones'

A still from the worldwide HBO hit ‘Game of Thrones’, which films in Northern Ireland
A still from the worldwide HBO hit ‘Game of Thrones’, which films in Northern Ireland

Anne Marie Walsh

A hard Border between the North and south will have a drastic impact on workers in big film and TV productions like 'Game of Thrones', an actor has warned.

President of Irish Equity Pádraig Murray said Brexit will affect Irish and European actors based on the island who cross the Border to shoot the HBO series.

He was speaking at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' biennial conference, at which union leaders called on the Government to set up an income protection fund to protect their 750,000 members.

A new strategy document by the union umbrella body, 'Brexit: Time to Rethink the Key Issues', urges the Government to set up a scheme to help workers facing redundancy in vulnerable sectors as they seek new jobs.

It also calls for EU funding worth over €1.5bn (€1.7bn) to Northern Ireland to be guaranteed for at least 20 years after the UK's formal exit.

Mr Murray pointed out that there are currently no restrictions on actors, choreographers and circus performers who choose to work on both sides of the Border.

"Actors are passing north to south and south to north on a daily basis," he told the conference in Belfast. "Down south, we have actors from all over Europe living and working in Dublin and the same thing applies here in Belfast. The largest production in the world, I think, currently is being shot here, 'Game of Thrones'.

"It provides great work for actors down south that move up north to work on that production. And then down south, we have 'Vikings' being shot so a hard Border will have a huge impact on that sort of thing."

Jimmy Kelly, regional secretary of Unite, which has members in the North and south, said the Brexit referendum is the most significant one since the Good Friday Agreement.

He said restrictions to common travel areas and the imposition of World Trade Organisation tariffs will threaten tens of thousands of jobs.

"This is a vote that will change our future irrevocably," he said. "And nowhere does Brexit pose more critical challenges than in Ireland, north and south."

He said the threat of customs posts, a militarised Border, tariffs and Border checks would set back the progress made in the last two decades. He said his union campaigned for a remain vote, arguing that the best course was to seek internal EU reform but this was not an unqualified endorsement of it due to its "corporate dominance".

Meanwhile, a campaign to compel companies with over 50 workers to reveal the gap between what they pay women and men is set to be stepped up.

Unions have backed a motion to win cross-party support for legislation to introduce compulsory gender wage reporting.

The gap is around 15pc in the Republic and almost 10pc in the North.

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Irish Independent

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