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Indigenous film and television industry must be nurtured – Ní Riada

18 November, 2016 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada invited a delegation of representatives from a broad cross section of the Irish film and television industry to Brussels on Wednesday to discuss their concerns on how an EU exit could effect the industry.

The delegation, which was made up of directors, broadcasters, trade union representatives and facilities companies met with representatives from a number of international film associations in the EU parliament buildings.

The Ireland South MEP said the delegation outlined a series of concerns they had about the possible impacts of Brexit.

“The Irish film and television industry has been one of the success stories of the past 10 years. While other sectors struggled to survive the film industry here grew significantly,” she said.

“If properly supported it has the potential to be one of Ireland's key industries, attracting investment, jobs and tourism.

“The audio visual content production sector alone is estimated to be worth over€550 million, employing over 6000 people through more than 560 small and medium sized enterprises.

“Every single member of the delegation had serious concerns about how Brexit would effect the industry. All of them work in one capacity or another on a cross border basis and said the imposition of a border would make it impossible to operate efficiently.

“There were also particular concerns about how an EU exit could affect Irish language film and television productions, with the sector being cut off from hugely significant hubs in Belfast and Derry.

"One delegate commented that between Brexit and government cuts to arts funding the industry was facing a 'perfect storm' that could 'push young people away from the creative industries.'

“Issues concerning funding, copyright and co-operation with Northern Ireland Screen were also raised with the international panel admitting that at this stage they simply do not know how the industry will work post-Brexit.

“There is huge potential in our home grown film and television industry, not just economically but in presenting Ireland as a vibrant cultural hub on the international stage. However, the industry needs nurtured and attacks on the arts, such as those seen in the recent Fine Gael budget, will not help a burgeoning indigenous industry as it faces into an unprecedented crisis.

“Cuts of over €30 million to the programme areas of Arts, Culture and Film in the 2017 budget amount to little more than cultural vandalism.

“Budget 2017 significantly reduces capital spend by more than €34 million when programme areas of Arts, Culture, and Film, as well as Irish language, Gaeltacht, and Islands are combined.

“However, the industry is determined to survive and thrive and delegates indicated their intention to set up an industry forum which would look at the challenges Brexit poses to the sector and present its solution to the British and Irish Governments.”

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