Arts, Sport and Tourism Minister John O'Donoghue hasannounced an 18% increase to Euros 14m in the Irish Film Board's budget for2005.

The move, funded out of a budget reallocation withinminister's departments, means that the Board's resources for production,development, and training will rise from Euros 10m to Euros 12m.

O'Donoghue said, "The very substantial increase infunding for 2005 demonstrates again the Government's commitment to the Irishfilm industry, which is a critical part of our national cultural life, and ofreal economic importance."

"Coupled with the decision already taken to extend andenhance the Section 481 scheme of tax relief for investment in film production,this increase in funding enables the Irish film sector to continue to develophigh quality, imaginative films for Irish and international audiences."

In addition to its ongoing support schemes for short films,documentary and animation there are currently nine feature films co-financed bythe Film Board at various stages of production - Boy Eats Girl, Breakfast onPluto, Isolation, The Mighty Celt, Pavee Lackeen, Short Order, Tara Road, TheTrouble With Sex, and Winter'sEnd.

Reacting to news of the imminent improvement in the FilmBoard's resources CEO Mark Woods said, "The increase will enable theagency to renew and revitalise several of our key content and talent investmentprogrammes as well as increasing our suite of ancillary services to furtherenhance the exploitation of Irish content."