Friday 23 June 2017

State's 'cinema trip' is vital and projects this country on world

Ireland should support its screen industries and Colm McCarthy is completely wrong

'When Michael D Higgins reinstated the Irish Film Board in 1991, there were (according to Coopers) fewer than 850 people working in the audio-visual production industry. By 2008 the PwC survey put the figure at 6,000. The policy is working - and with the right infrastructure it can grow so much more' Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney
'When Michael D Higgins reinstated the Irish Film Board in 1991, there were (according to Coopers) fewer than 850 people working in the audio-visual production industry. By 2008 the PwC survey put the figure at 6,000. The policy is working - and with the right infrastructure it can grow so much more' Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

James Morris

In his opinion piece 'State's cinema trip should be censored', Colm McCarthy said that Ireland should be the only country in the EU to stop supporting screen industries. I think he is completely wrong.

Irish film incentives are not some home-grown piece of favouritism, they are part of a universal system by which global content and film production is funded. Film incentives are not only a European arrangement, they are also available in most states in the US, in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, South Africa, and many other countries. Incentives are structural to the way all film production is financed - and though you may not like this system, that is not a good enough reason to walk off the pitch.

The incentive is a cost to the State, but all the remainder of the production funding comes in as foreign direct investment. The incentive is also unique in that it is paid only for direct employment in Ireland and only for goods and services supplied by Irish companies. In any other industry this would be viewed as a breach of EU competition rules - but it is sanctioned and approved by the European Competition Authority because national screen industries are rightly treated as a special case under the European Cinema Directive.

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