In his first major announcement since he took on responsibility for film in June, Irish Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism, Seamus Brennan, has confirmed additional funding of $2.8m(Euros 2m) for the Irish Film Board (IFB), to encourage international film and television projects to shoot in Ireland.

The extra money is for the IFB International Production Fund which has been responsible for attracting more than $85m (Euros 60m) worth of incoming production to Ireland over the past two years.

The Fund, now in its third year, aims to ensure the continuation of international production in Ireland by encouraging mobile film and television projects to locate here. The $2.8m is in addition to the $28m (Euros 20m) budget the IFB is receiving in 2007 from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism.

Making the announcement the minister said, 'There is now more than ever greater global competition in securing film and television production. Ireland holds its own thanks to our talent pool and incentives. In the short term, this additional 2 million will allow the Film Board to go aggressively into the market and seek to secure further prestigious projects over the coming months. Our target must be to match, or even surpass, the achievements last year when a similar 2 million investment towards the end of 2006 delivered film and TV production activity in Ireland that amounted to 32 million.'

Alluding to the current review of Ireland's international competitiveness the minister further pledged that he will work with the Irish Film Board and others to shape policies and incentives that will allow Ireland tap further into international investment in film and television production.

Large scale productions which have shot on location in Ireland as a result of the IFB's International Production Fund include Becoming Jane, Dorothy Mills, The Tudors, My Boy Jack and The Escapist. UK TV series which have located to Ireland include Murphy's Law, George Gently and The Old Curiosity Shop. In return for its investment the IFB places emphasis on the employment of Irish talent in all grades, the use of Irish goods and services, and a high level of spend in the economy.

Last year's supported projects provided employment for four Irish directors, 733 Irish crew, 141 Irish cast, and 3,223 Irish extras. Four of the productions were based at Ardmore Studios. According to research carried out by Tourism Ireland the Irish tourism industry also benefits indirectly from these high profile international film and TV productions.

Welcoming the Minister's announcement, James Morris, IFB Chairman, said, 'Together with the Irish tax incentive Section 481 and our first class Irish production companies, this fund will help create a strong package with which to promote Ireland as a location for film and television. We look forward to identifying major new projects to shoot on location in Ireland '.