Business Irish

Sunday 15 December 2019

Film studios should be treated as strategically important, says minister


Leo Varadkar on a visit to Troy Studios last year. Photo: Alan Place/SYFY
Leo Varadkar on a visit to Troy Studios last year. Photo: Alan Place/SYFY
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Studio space for Ireland's television and film industry needs to be treated as strategically important infrastructure, according to Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan.

The claim comes as space is again in short supply given the number of productions in the pipeline, including a new series for Apple TV in Troy Studios, Limerick.

"It's crucial we ensure the infrastructure is in place in Ireland to meet the growing demand from Irish and international audiovisual production companies and investors," said Madigan.

"We already have a fantastic network of studio spaces in Ireland, both in the more established production areas and cities but also in the regions. But clearly more will be needed as the sector continues to grow.

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"Given the cultural and economic importance of the sector, I will be making sure the sector's infrastructural needs are given the same priority as other pieces of important national infrastructure so, in the same way the State prioritises other strategically important national infrastructure, infrastructure like studio space will be treated differently to normal developments."

A number of measures have been introduced to support the industry, although industry sources continue to have concerns about the Section 481 tax break. The scheme has been extended to 2024 and a "regional uplift" to incentivise film production in the regions began in July 2019.

The uplift will be available for four years, giving extra tax credits. An Audiovisual Actionplan Progress Report, which Madigan presented to Cabinet, showed that, to date in 2019, Screen Ireland is supporting seven feature film co-productions in collaboration with creative talent from Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Italy and the UK.

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