The Irish Minister for Arts John O'Donoghue has announced the first recipients of capital funding through the Cultural Cinema Consortium scheme to assist the development of specialist cinemas.

Euros 750,000 each has been offered to Kino Cinema in Cork and Limerick Filmhouse in Limerick which allow both operators to develop and enhance access to a broader range of cinema in both cities.

The Cultural Cinema Consortium was created in 2001 as a joint initiative of the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board, both of which were commended by the minister. 'As an art form, cinema is capable of reaching audiences in all parts of the country,' he said. 'This funding will ensure greater access for Irish people to international, classic and Irish films.'

This first round of capital funding follows a public tender process, 'designed to improve opportunities for regional cinema operators to develop multi-screen operations to enhance and expand the range of cinema available around Ireland.'

The deadline for receipt of applications for the second round of art house cinema capital investment will be Friday 19 December. Details of the application process will be posted on and on at the end of August.