An Assessment of the Economic Impacts of the Arts in Ireland in 2011, published by the Arts Council furnishes some quantitative information on the size of the creative sector in terms of value-added and employment. While the economic spin-offs of cultural activity have long been adduced to motivate government involvement in arts promotion, economic arguments have not resulted verifiably in gains for the arts sector over recent years. The Innovation Taskforce Report of March, 2010 recommended that the importance of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the innovation ecosystem be promoted and that opportunities be sought to increase synergies between these and the scientific and technological disciplines. While there is no overall framework of provisions, a number of economic organisations such as IBEC’s (Irish Business and Employers Confederation) Audiovisual Federation represent the interests of creative industry sub-sectors.
Some features of the Irish arts environment support the arts and culture industries generally e.g. the fairly unique tax regime for artists resident in Ireland (introduced in the 1969 Finance Act), which enables all working artists to apply for tax exemptions on the income derived from their creative work (see chapter 4.1.4). In the same way, the fluidity of boundaries between the arts generally and certain culture industries particularly, means that public funds disbursed by the Arts Council have an impact, albeit indirect, on the industrial sector.
A number of initiatives support specific culture industries. The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht provides funding for and works in close co-operation with the Irish Film Board which is responsible for the development and promotion of the Irish film industry, supporting, through Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 765 projects since its inception in 1994. Recent improvements in this scheme allow for its application to non EU as well as EU talent working in Ireland. The Film Board provides loans and equity investment to independent Irish film makers to assist the development and production of Irish films and cooperates with other semi-states to improve marketing, sales and distribution. The audio visual content production sector is estimated at EUR 550 million and involves 560 SMEs. Production activity in 2013 was the highest on record contributing over EUR 168 million to the Irish economy (an increase of 18% on 2012). There are 465 cinema screens in Ireland (in 70 sites) and 20% of tourists in 2012 cited film as an influencing factor in their decision to visit Ireland Screen Training Ireland provides training for the industry as do many third level colleges. A new film tax scheme is to commence in 2015.
The publishing industry in Ireland produces fewer titles per head of population than almost any country in the EU and accounts for just over 20% of book sales in Ireland. This can be attributed to the penetration of British publishing houses, their success in attracting Irish authors, the huge mark-up by Irish book retailers and the poor readership levels of Irish people. There have been calls for dedicated nurturing of Irish publishing to address these issues. Translation funds are provided through Ireland Literature Exchange for the publishing sector.
A number of third-level institutions (Universities and Institutes of Technology) run training courses to primary degree level and beyond for people interested in employment in the music, film and multimedia industries.