Friday, November 18, 2011

Irish Film Board (Amendment) Bill 2011

A correspondent has sent me on a link to the opening session (2nd stage)debate on this piece of legislation.

It is an essential piece of legislation to allow the IFB to continue to offer funding as it will otherwise have run out of money by the end of the year. I was aware of this but not of the exact timing.

As things stand the total funding available to the agency is €200million, increased from €101.5million since 2006. In other words, the IFB has spent €98.5million since the beginning of 2007. I do not know if this includes funds that have been recouped or refers only to annual budget vote from the Oireachtas.

It is now proposed to increase the ceiling to €300million. The debate does provide an opportunity to discuss the work of the IFB in the Oireachtas but there may be more pressing matters on Deputies' and Senators' minds.

Update - link to the full debate here. A little too much unquestioning acceptance of the figures produced by various reports in recent years.

Richard Boyd Barrett ended with -
I ask the Minister to comment on an issue that has been raised with me by a number of people in recent days. The individuals who contacted me pointed out that some of our tax incentive schemes amount to tax scams for certain wealthy elements in society as they are essentially a risk free investment on which wealthy people avoid tax. It was also suggested to me that Anglo Irish Bank was up to its neck in lending to companies in this area but is not chasing them up for the moneys owed to the bank, and these same companies are not paying what they owe to technicians and the people who actually make the movies. I would like the Minister to comment on that.

3 comments:

tomtdowling said...

The level of debate on the second stage of this bill was somewhat disappointing but not surprising, good news the Film Board will not be one of those amalgamated as recommended by McCarthy. Lots of comments to great Irish film from Ryan’s Daughter to the Guard with some references to:
1. The PricewaterhouseCoopers report regarding deficiencies in the section 481 tax relief scheme and found it is open to occasional “abuse”.
2. Future development in the industry should be comparable to the best practice procedures that are applied in other industries, (which those of us working in the industry know is far from satisfactory).
3. Responsibility of the Government to ensure the systems supports and incentives in this area are not exploited by a small number of well-protected interested parties "exclusive elite or golden circle should not be created in the industry".
4. 98% of freelance workers in the industry have a formal qualification. The Creative Capital report envisages an increased role for the Irish Film Board with regard to determining the creative and technical skills required by the industry and working with the education sector in the development of those skills
5. The sector contributed more than €170 million to the Exchequer in 2010
6. Lots of praise for the animation sector and its success abroad.
7. Stronger relationship between Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland could be forged to work with the Irish Film Board to make a plan to attract foreign direct investment.
No mention by anyone of the blight of union stoppages over the past 7-8 years that have resulted in many international productions taking their projects to other countries. Or how the industry is thriving in Northern Ireland and yet 70 miles down the M1 in the Republic the industry is on its knees. It would appear the IFB is a star pupil in the Ministers eyes and there is little desire to bring about change management, with the exception to raising the ceiling from 200 to 300 million. The existing IFB model is not working and has done little to develop a sustainable industry.

Anonymous said...

Dep Boyd Barret said
"I ask the Minister to comment on an issue that has been raised with me by a number of people in recent days. The individuals who contacted me pointed out that some of our tax incentive schemes amount to tax scams for certain wealthy elements in society as they are essentially a risk free investment on which wealthy people avoid tax. It was also suggested to me that Anglo Irish Bank was up to its neck in lending to companies in this area but is not chasing them up for the moneys owed to the bank, and these same companies are not paying what they owe to technicians and the people who actually make the movies. I would like the Minister to comment on that.

Minister Denehen said "Deputy Boyd Barrett stated that we appear to have produced a disproportionate amount of literary talent. I believe we punch above our weight in terms of the number of creative people we have in this country.

Section 481 was referred to. Tax foregone in 2010 was approximately €50 million. However, the benefits we have received are huge in comparison to that amount. Section 481 is similar to our corporation tax rate of 12.5% because the provisions in this section are what brings film production to Ireland. One of the reasons the series “Titanic: Blood and Steel” is being shot here and not in Northern Ireland is probably due to section 481 and the availability of funding. It is important this section is preserved. The provision may have been abused in the past but the regulations have been tightened considerably. Deputy Boyd Barrett referred to Anglo Irish Bank but I am not aware of any such abuse or circumstances of the kind to which he referred. I suggest he write to the chairman of the bank if he wishes to have further information."

Perhaps there are anglo, Irish film company and tax incentives issues to now come out that will affect how things happen in the future. That the minister doesnt know of those situations is because Lawyers and agencies havent told him. The dogs on the street know about these how come he doesnt. It takes an independent like Boyd Barret to raise something that might upset things for everyone. will follow this with interest. I hope these abusers of the system and found out and trialed like the bankers who worked the system too and abused it. Oh wait they arent been chased either... Ah well, one word Scotfree.

Anonymous said...

No mention of the lack of facilities or the immediate need to invest in this area. No mention of the lack of employee representation on the film board while they still wave about this disingenuous figure of 5000 workers in the sector. No mention of the IFB becoming a private club for the select few who carve up the grants for themselves to produce products with no artistic or commercial value. Where was the labour party on this one? Instead of politicians involved in a meaningful debate with opposing points of view. We get a gang of cheerleaders shouting for a losing team....then again this is modern day Ireland!