26 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
'Bord Snip' Recommends Major Cuts/Changes to Irish Film Board, TG4, IFCO, Culture Ireland, BAI, ComReg
16 Jul 2009 :
Colm McCarthy
The Department of Finance today published recommendations for around €5.3bn worth of public spending cuts; €37m across Arts and Culture, which includes the transfer of the Irish Film Board’s functions to a new enterprise agency and discontinuation of the investment fund.
“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 (€418m since 1993 and €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 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 (see Detailed Paper No. 5) which incorporates a restructured Enterprise Ireland and the enterprise development functions of a range of other existing agencies. The Group also recommends discontinuation of the dedicated investment fund. Overall, these proposals should lead to a staff reduction of about 17 positions."

The 300-page report (over two volumes) created by the expert team headed by UCD economist Colm McCarthy includes hundreds of proposals, including a reduction in the allocation of funds for the Arts Council and discontinuing the allocation of money for Cultural Projects.

Also contained in the McCarthy Report are these cost-cutting proposals;

  • “The merger of ComReg with the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (the result of merging the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and the regulatory functions of the RTÉ Authority) because of the growing convergence between the communications and broadcasting industries.”
  • The report notes that the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) will be funded by an industry levy which will save the Exchequer over €6m each year compared to the existing arrangement.
  • Reforming the funding of TG4 by partially funding it directly from the TV Licence with reciprocal savings in the Exchequer subvention to TG4.
  • The Group does not recommend an increase in the TV Licence.”
  • Merging the Digital Hub Agency with EI/IDA.
  • Abolishing Culture Ireland generating a saving of €4.6m. This programme allocates grants for overseas activity to Irish artists or arts organizations as well as the funding and facilitating Irish participation at strategic international arts events.
  • Transfer of the Irish Film Board’s functions to EI.
  • Transferring the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) into the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)
  • .
  • Partially funding TG4 directly from TV Licence reducing the direct Exchequer subvention.
  • Reduction of Arts Council budget by €6.1m.
  • Deferring the rollout of Phase II and Phase III Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), where work has not commenced, to save €125m over three years.

Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes can be accessed at:
Volume One
Volume Two
(pages 13-33 of this second document covers specific recommendations relating to the Department of Arts Sport and Tourism, and Department of Communications).

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