Wednesday 21 February 2018

State's cinema trip should be censored

It's time to have some value-for-money thinking restored to what is an epidemic of film subsidies

Irish ways: Dublin Port and Ringsend, where the proposed film studios would be built
Irish ways: Dublin Port and Ringsend, where the proposed film studios would be built
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

There is quite a spat under way about the possible location in Dublin's docklands of a new film studio, promoted by a former chairman of the Film Board and a group of film industry operators. They have their eye on some State-owned land, possibly land belonging to Dublin Port or alternatively part of the storied Irish Glass Bottle site which ended up in Nama. The chief executive of Dublin Port has accused the promoters of a 'land grab' no less, while they claim to be offering jobs, economic growth and all things good and wholesome.

The ability of quangos in Ireland to survive the occasional cull during periods of financial stringency has been illustrated again these past few years. A brief spring-cleaning consequent on the Bord Snip report back in 2009 ran out of steam fairly quickly and a succession of brand-new outfits has since been created to replace the few that were closed or merged. This is not a new pattern. The Irish Film Board was actually abolished in response to the public finance crisis of the late 1980s but was resurrected under new political management in 1992 and escaped the re-abolition recommended by Bord Snip's latest reincarnation.

There are two principal enterprise promotion bodies in Ireland, the IDA to attract inward investment and Enterprise Ireland to support indigenous firms. They provide services to all of the economic branches and it is costly, and not good housekeeping, to have separate mini-quangos for each and every sector.

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