and... action! plan to create 2,000 film jobs
PLANS are in place to lure Hollywood heavyweights to Ireland in a bid to create 2,000 jobs in the film industry.
Arts Minister Heather Humphreys is pushing for significant changes to the tax incentives offered to internal production firms who choose Ireland as their filming destination.
Ms Humphreys has lobbied Finance Minister Michael Noonan to raise the controversial film cap in a bid to make our film industry more competitive.
"I want to make Ireland a first choice destination for film directors and producers," Ms Humphreys told the Herald.
"We need to be able to compete if we want to attract major international productions to Ireland. The film and TV sector here has gained an excellent reputation internationally, and I am keen to promote it as much as possible," she added.
At present, companies that film in Ireland can avail of a tax credit used to offset the cost of hiring film cast, crew and goods and services.
However, the credit applies to expenditure capped at €50m in what is viewed in film circles as representing a disincentive to major Hollywood-type companies.
The newly-appointed cabinet minister now wants the cap raised to €100m in a move she says could lead to the creation of 2,000 extra jobs.
It's hoped that by raising the film cap, it would become much easier to attract major productions here for their entire shoot, bringing millions of euro to the local economy.
Ms Humphreys has been in contact with Mr Noonan after the prospect of raising the cap.
She pointed to the filming of the new Star Wars film at Skellig Michael off the coast of Kerry as an example of Ireland's potential to attract big-name productions.
"The beauty of Skellig Michael will be brought to tens of millions of people around the world through the next Star Wars film. You can't buy that kind of publicity," she stated.
During his Budget speech on Tuesday, the Finance Minister said that providing greater incentives to the film industry is under consideration by his department.
"The new Irish film tax credit scheme is due to commence in 2015 and I am very pleased that it has been broadly welcomed by the film industry. The film industry is very important to modern Irish culture and to the economy, not just in terms of jobs but also indirectly through tourism promotion," he said.
"As the new scheme beds down next year, I will be monitoring how it works and how it can be improved. One of the issues that I will consider in the context of budget 2016 is a possible increase to the €50m cap on eligible expenditure, subject of course to resource constraints."