Feature film production in Ireland in 2005 dropped 50% on the previous year, according to the Audiovisual Federation Review produced annually by Irish state and industry bodies.

The loss of feature production was more than compensated for by significant growth in television production, much of it single and serial drama.

Ten feature films were made in Ireland in 2005, several of them low budget indigenous productions.

Total Irish expenditure on feature films came to $22.4m (£17.5m.) The comparable figure for 2004 was $48.6m (£37.9m).

The amount of Irish expenditure in 2003 was $129m (£100.4m), demonstrating the dramatic fall-off in interest in Ireland as an offshore base for sizeable US production.

Kevin Moriarty, MD of Ardmore Studios, member of the Irish Film Board, and chair of the steering committee that produced the report, acknowledged that some improvement in film production levels had taken place in 2006, as a result of Government intervention.

But he said "ongoing changes, particularly in incentives in competing jurisdictions, mean that Ireland is currently not competitive in attracting international feature film activity."

The industry has made a pre-budget submission to Government seeking improvements to Section 481 to ensure that the Irish film and television sector can be competitive vis-à-vis its international competitors. The Audiovisual Federation has called for:

* An increase in the write-off available to individual investors from the current level of 80% of their investment to 90%, and 100% in the case of indigenous productions.
* An amendment to the definition of eligible spend to include all film-making activity in the State.
* An increase in the cap on Section 481 funds that can be raised, per project, from the current level of $45 (Euros 35m) to $64.3(Euros 50m).
* Raising the cap on individual investments in film projects from $40.8m (Euros 31,750) to $64.3 (Euros 50,000.)

In addition to the above, the Federation has urged the Government to commit to an extension of Section 481 to 31 December 2012, from its current termination date of 31 December 2008.

Changes to the tax incentive scheme are generally announced in the annual finance bill, published by the Government in late January.