23 September 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network
Screen Ireland welcomes the Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce Report
18 Nov 2020 : News Desk
Screen Ireland
Screen Ireland has welcomed the published report from the Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce, established by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin T.D., and chaired by Clare Duignan.

The Taskforce formed a cross-collaborative approach in the arts, audiovisual, and live performance sectors, and the subsequent report sets out recommendations on how best these sectors can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive of Screen Ireland, commented: “Screen Ireland sincerely appreciates the opportunity to contribute to the Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce. We would like to thank Minister Martin T.D. for her invitation to participate and Chair Clare Duignan for guiding this essential cross-sectoral collaboration.  

“Ireland’s creative and cultural industries are central to our national identity and our international profile, contributing to our collective resilience during difficult times. The Taskforce has proved crucial in highlighting the full extent of the devastating impact of the pandemic on arts and culture, and constructive in developing practical recommendations to support recovery. 

“We believe this is a critical time for solidarity with the arts and culture community. Screen Ireland continues to support our filmmakers, creative talent, and crew members and aims to retain the wider creative workforce with their extensive skills, expertise, and talent. In particular, at this time we recognise the need to protect and sustain national cinema culture and the devastating impact closures have had on cinemas. We remain committed to working closely with all stakeholders to provide all possible support through 2021 and beyond, to ensure the industry can adapt and rebuild.” 

Screen Ireland, together with Screen Producers Ireland, represented a broad range of stakeholders across the creative screen industries. Screen Ireland supports the recommendations outlined in the report, particularly those focused on supporting freelance workers within the cultural sector, in order to avoid enormous long-term damage to the industry through migration of skills into other industries.  

Other recommendations of note to the Creative Screen Sector 

The Government’s 2021 budget has addressed an increase in sectorial funding next year and an extension to the regional uplift, which included a 52% increase in capital funding for Screen Ireland. Other supports previously introduced with a key focus on getting the industry back to work include rigorous industry guidelines, funding to partially offset additional production costs associated with implementing the new guidelines, and a Production Continuation Fund to help de-risk cessation costs.

  • Recommendations set out in the report that are of particular note to the creative screen industries, include the timely transposition of the Audio-visual Media Services Directive, which requires a quota and prominence of European works, in addition to providing potential new funding streams for original Irish content. The report also recommends the immediate transposition of the EU copyright directive, relating to fair pay for the makers of creative content.  
  • The Taskforce has recommended a more nuanced approach to the opening of cultural venues, including cinemas, which are currently closed from Level 3.  
  • The taskforce also recommends a programme that provides wellbeing supports to artists, creative practitioners, and event workers, addressing their common and distinctive needs.  
  • A Creative Green programme has been recommended within the report to create and implement a programme of sustainable practices in the sector via an internationally recognised Green Certification Programme. 
  • Longer-term recovery recommendations including support for upskilling and further consideration given to of current S481 film and television tax credit cap as recommended in the Audio-Visual Action Plan.

Key Industry Support Previously Introduced by Screen Ireland  

With production activity halted in March due to the pandemic, Screen Ireland introduced a wide range of support measures, primarily focused on project development, supporting Irish production companies and creative talent, to help ensure the sustainability of the sector. As the industry has slowly emerged, adapting to living with COVID-19, comprehensive and rigorous industry guidelines, which meet all public health requirements, have been developed which underpin a collective industry responsibility to safe working environments.  

With a key focus on getting the industry back to work, Screen Ireland introduced a new support fund designed to partially offset additional production costs associated with implementing the new guidelines. The agency has also introduced the Production Continuation Fund to help de-risk cessation costs. Both of these supports have assisted the creative screen industry to operate while living with COVID-19.  The sector will need these measures to continue into 2021 to mitigate against the challenges of production during unprecedented levels of uncertainty. Screen Skills Ireland has also provided a wide range of skills development courses for industry practitioners and supports throughout the pandemic.  

A significant increase in sectorial funding has been provided through the July stimulus funding aimed at increasing TV production and an increased Screen Ireland Budget for 2021, in addition to the extension of the Section 481 Regional Uplift to help create and sustain more regional jobs in the sector.  

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