A special group appointed by the Irish Government to report on possible savings in public service costs has recommended scrapping the Irish Film Board (IFB).
The group, known as ‘An Bord Snip Nua’, recommends the transfer of the IFB’s functions to a new enterprise agency as well as axing its fund.
In the report’s section on achievable structural reforms and efficiencies within the Arts department’s ambit, it said that savings of $32 (€23m) will result if the IFB is disintegrated and its sixteen staff let go. It also pointed to the availability of the section 481 tax break which provided $46.5 (€33m) to the industry in 2008.
The report said: “The Group considers that continued funding of the Irish Film Board is not affordable at this time in the context of other more pressing spending priorities.
“Given the scale of tax expenditure ($679m (€418m) since 1993 and $46.5m (€33m) in 2008) via the tax incentive scheme for this sector, and given the level of international competition in this market space, there is no objective economic case for subventing the Irish Film Industry.”
The report suggests that certain functions of the IFB could be undertaken by a newly amalgamated enterprise support agency. “The Group considers that film development is similar to enterprise development activities in other sectors (e.g. manufacturing, services, tourism etc). It concludes that the enterprise promotion and development activities of the Irish Film Board should be transferred to the new enterprise agency.”
A spokesperson for the IFB said: “We are taking our time to consider the recommendations in the report.” A response is expected from Simon Perry, CEO of the IFB, early next week.