Extension of regional film tax incentives would help Ireland become "global powerhouse" in film production - O'Sullivan

Published on: 24 February 2023

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South-West Christopher O’Sullivan has called for an extension to regional film tax incentives to help Ireland become a global powerhouse in film production.
The Cork South-West TD wants the Section 481 regional uplift scheme, which is due to expire at the end of this year, to be extended and for the regional uplift maps to be redrawn so more areas of Ireland can benefit from independent film productions.
“We need to prioritise a strategy that recognises Ireland’s potential to become a global powerhouse in terms of movies and TV,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.
“It could be argued that we already are – when we see record breaking nominations at the upcoming Oscars and the performance at the Baftas but for that to be fair and equitable around Ireland we need to fix the regional uplift maps.  The uplift maps are unfair at the moment.”
Deputy O’Sullivan said under the current scheme production companies can avail of tax breaks in certain parts of Limerick and Kerry but parts of Cork and Clare cannot claim the same reliefs so it’s an "unfair" playing field.  
He cited west Cork as one region being negatively affected under the current system.  
“Access to the relief is based on the regional aid map for Ireland,” Deputy O’Sullivan added.
“The Inishowen peninsula in Donegal is included but the Mizen peninsula in Cork is not. It just doesn’t make any sense.
“With a west Cork hat on, West Cork is home to Jeremy Irons, David Puttnam, Paul Mescal, Saoirse Ronan but they’re not even the most talented people from the movie sector living there because we have art designers, set designers, make up designers.
“There’s a huge opportunity to turn west Cork into a capital of movies and TV but we need to fix the maps.”  
The main Section 481 tax credit was extended in Budget 2023 until the end of 2028 but there was no extension to the regional uplift scheme.  
Since the latter was introduced in 2018, the scheme has resulted in considerable production activity in areas such as Kerry and Donegal.
It initially gave a further 5% tax credit on top of the 32% credit against corporation tax offered by Section 481. This has been reduced to 2% for 2023.  
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in response to a parliamentary question on the matter from Deputy O’Sullivan said he believed the regional uplift maps are due to come to an end.  
“I had thought that the change to the regional uplift maps for film was a temporary measure that is due to expire," Mr Varadkar said. "I could absolutely be wrong about that. There was talk of extending it.”