Film sector boosts economy, study says


ALMOST ONE fifth of tourists who visited Ireland in 2008 cited film as a reason for coming here, resulting in a tourist expenditure of €369 million, according to a new report on the Irish audiovisual industry.

In its annual report the Audiovisual Federation, which monitors growth and trends within the industry, said the film and television industry was hugely valuable – culturally and economically.

Kevin Moriarty, chairman of the federation’s steering committee, said the report represented positive growth within the industry. He said that this was partly due to Government support in addressing the section 481 tax incentive earlier in the year.

However, he warned that the industry faced further challenges in 2010.

“There are uncertainties in the last number of months about the future of the (Irish) Film Board and tax incentives,” he said. “What we do know is that we need that ongoing support to continue this development of the industry.”

Total production in 2008 reached €247 million, a 26 per cent increase on the previous year. The total expenditure on Irish goods and services arising from audiovisual productions reached €168 million in 2008, up 16 per cent on the previous year. The federation estimates the cost benefit to the Irish economy yielded €26 million in 2008, the highest return since 2003.

Tommy McCabe, of the Audiovisual Federation of employers’ group Ibec, said the figures showed the industry was yielding a positive return and making a substantial contribution to the economy.

Estimates for 2009 are down on the 2008 figures with an estimated drop of €28 million. However, the federation noted that this was inevitable due to the global economic downturn and an increase in the number of countries offering financial incentives similar to Ireland’s section 481 incentive.

Animation was dubbed the star performer of the industry by Mr McCabe who said the sector had showed consistent growth with a projected output of €43 million for the coming year.

Patrick O’Neill, of the Irish Film Board, said 2008 was a very good year for Irish film with a record number of productions in Ireland and an output of €71.9 million.