Ireland's Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism John O'Donoghue has received government approval for the signing of three bilateral co-production agreements with Germany, Luxembourg, and New Zealand.

Similar agreements are in already operation with Canada and Australia, but these will be the first such agreements negotiated between Ireland and EU Member States.

The certifiying authority for administering co-production in Ireland is the Irish Film Board.

The bilateral agreements will enable Irish film and television producers utilise national supports from these prospective co-production partners for Irish projects.

The treaties are intended to foster and encourage new co-production relationships between Ireland and the other countries. These agreements will apply to types of audiovisual works including feature film, television and animation productions.

The Minister commented that 'when implemented these co-production agreements will further advance the economic and cultural co-operation between Ireland and our new co-production partners, and enhance the prestige of the film industry in all the countries concerned.

'This move also represents the ongoing commitment of the Irish Government to the Irish film industry and the recognition of the importance of its position in the international arena.

We look forward to increased activity taking place between Irish producers and new partners in Germany, Luxembourg and New Zealand and in building on the existing contacts that exist with these territories,' concluded the minister.

The minister, who will be fighting a general election on May 24, has also announced capital funding allocations to a number of Irish film organisations. FilmBase, a resource centre for film makers in Dublin received Eu362,500.

The Irish Film Institute received $750,000 (Eu550,000) for its Dublin centre and $890,000 (Eu650,000) for its film archive. The largest amount, $2.7m (Eu2m), is to go to the Solas Picture House, an arthouse development planned for Galway.