The IrishMinister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donogue,has announced an overallbudget increase of 18.5 percent for the Irish Film Boardin 2006. Within a total allocation of $20.2 (Euros17.126m) the minister hasdecided to provide a sum of $17.7 (Euros15m) to the agency as capital fundingfor production, development and training next year.

The provision for administration costs will be $2.4 (Euros 2.126m), a 4%increase on the provision for 2005.The original capital allocation for 2005 was $14.6 (Euros12.4m),to which a further amount of $1.7 (Euros1.5m) was added in October as anadditional fund to attract foreign production to Ireland.

When he announced the allocation, Minister O'Donoghuesaid, "Taken together with thesupplementaryfundingof$1.7(Euros1.5m) made available to the Board in the current year, this 2006 capitalallocation reflects the importance which attachestothe film and audiovisual industry, therecognition of the vital role of the Irish Film Board, and the Government'scommitment to its continued success.
"It is hoped that this increased funding will, not only help to alleviatesome of the recent difficulties experienced within the industry, but equallywill signal the seriousness with which the Government viewsthe place occupied by the audiovisual sector within this nation's culturaland economic spheres."

Film Board Chair James Morris welcomed the Minister's announcement saying, TheIrish Film Board is delighted with this new funding increase as it means thatthe Board will be in a position to introduce a number of new fundinginitiatives. This good news also comes at an exciting time for the Irish FilmBoard, with a new chief executive Simon Perry taking up his position in the new year."