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Recommendations to strengthen film industry launched today by Peadar Tóibín TD

12 July, 2018

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht today published their report on the Development and Working Conditions in the Irish Film Industry.

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín who is Chairperson of the Committee, said:

“The Film Industry is an extremely important part of the cultural, artistic and economic life of Ireland. High quality output is produced by a talented, creative and dynamic workforce. We are blessed by superb filming locations in Ireland and our membership of the EU plus strong infrastructure allows us to meet the rapidly increasing demand for content internationally. 

“The film industry is extremely important as it allows us to tell our story, as a people to ourselves and to the rest of the world.

“It is our objective as a committee that we build, strengthen and improve the experience of all stakeholders in the sector in order to see it grow further.

“It’s estimated that between film, TV and animation €692 million was generated in 2016. It’s also estimated that 6,700 Irish residents work as cast or crew in live action film and TV.

“The Irish state provides a significant amount of support for the sector. €73.5m was provided in Section 481 tax breaks in 2015 to the 12 largest production companies plus significant loans and equity investments are made available.

“The state has a responsibility to ensure that indigenous film making capacity is being developed within the industry and that there are good working conditions within the sector.      

“By and large the majority of workers that we spoke to in the sector were happy with the development of the film industry and the working conditions within. However within any growing sector, there are challenges. The film industry is no different. I believe that it is important that these challenges are addressed and not ignored.

“With goodwill by all stakeholders and real Government focus, I have no doubt that these challenges can be resolved. The following are some of the key recommendations of the report.

1.    Section 481 is a key and central component within the Irish Film Industry. This fact is accepted by the vast majority of the industry’s stake holders. Section 481 will remain central in the industry into the future.

2.    Amongst certain sectors and grades of the industry concerns exist with regards working terms and conditions.

There is a concern these can impact workers with regards to income, redundancy and pension entitlements. They can also affect workers ability to communicate real workplace difficulties, as workers without permanent contracts must be constantly rehired.

It is the view of the Committee that the Government should seek to make working arrangements more secure. Film companies should comply with labour laws in relation to employment and self-employment. The Committee calls on the Government to develop plans that ensure gaps in work are counted towards employment rights and redundancy.

3.    We seek the reform of training in the sector to ensure that all training has a recognised qualification where possible, has a beginning and an end and that trainees are not forced to repeat specific training. 

4.    The Committee calls on the Irish Film Board to constitute the Board’s Film Forum, with an independent chair, in order to allow all stakeholders within the sector to meet and work together to develop mutually beneficial solutions for the industry.

5.    An international comparative study should be constituted to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the Section 481 tax credit. The Committee is not recommending the abolition of the credit, far from it, but its evolution, to ensure that certain foreign investment is not being lost as a result of its current form.

6.    Workers within the craft grades of the industry should have representatives nominated to the Irish Film Board to feed in their perspectives and needs into the industry development.

7.    The Committee calls for state support for the precarious existence of actors and sustainable pension structures for workers within the Irish film industry.

8.    The Committee seeks the further integration of the film industry on a north/south basis with the creation of formal north/south structures, development plans and investment.

9.    The Committee calls on the unions and the representative organisations to work towards a mutually beneficial and respectful understanding. 

“The film industry is a symbiotic industry. All stakeholders of the industry are interdependent, and cooperation is key in its development.

“To this end the next steps are important. We are hopeful that the Irish Film Board will constitute an Irish Film Forum soon. We are aware the Revenue is review the function of Section 481 and we recommend that they take these recommendations into account. We call on the Minister for Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht to ensure that our country’s story is told, that the industry flourishes and that all workers in the industry can make a living in the sector they love.”

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