People, 1. -  3. October 1998
Michael Grant

There has been a long tradition in Ireland, going back at least thirty years, of supporting culture and cultural activities across many genres primarily by way of the tax regime.
The first major initiative occured in 1969 when it was legislated that the earnings of artists resident in Ireland would be exempt from Income Tax.
Since 1987 there has been a tax relief scheme in operation in respect of investment in the film industry, known colloquially as the Section 35 Scheme. Over the years this scheme has been adjusted and expanded so that to-day the film industry in Ireland is vibrant. A statutory Board to promote the indigenous film industry has been in existence since the early 1980s.

During the recent Irish Presidency of the European Union Ireland organised the first European Seminar on the Music Industry in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Music Office. The Luxembourg Presidency built on the work of that Seminar with a view to influencing the content of the recently published proposal from the European Commission relating to culture in the Union from the year 2000. In 1996 a tax efficient Business Expansion Scheme scheme was developed for the music industry. The merits of establishing a statutory Music Board, to be jointly funded by the Music Industry and the Government, to develop the industry generally and to assist in the nurturing of new talent is currently under consideration.

In 1995 a new scheme offering tax relief in respect of the donation of important national heritage items whose export from the State would constitute a diminution of Ireland accumulated cultural heritage to the Irish national collections was introduced. The relief consists of a tax credit equal to the value of the heritage item(s) donated which can be credited against particular tax liabilities incurred by the donor.

Under the current round of EU Structural Funds, jointly funded by the Government and the private sector, it has been possible to undertake a major programme of capital projects relating to cultural activity - e.g. major expansions to the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, regional Museums and Galleries. A unique programme of capital investment, again jointly funded through structural funs, the Government and the private sector, has been undertaken to improve the infrastructure for artistic expression performance and participation and access has been undertaken.

His presentation will deal in detail with the Irish experience with some greater emphasis on the Irish Music Industry.

Biography: Michael Grant is the Assistant Secretary General with responsibility for policy formulation and advice to the Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands in relation to a number of broad areas of responsibility - the arts generally including, in particular, the Irish Arts Council, the development of the National Cultural Institutions including the National Museum of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, the National Gallery, the National Archives, the National Concert Hall and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Audiovisual policy including broadcasting, the promotion of the audiovisual production sector and Irish Film and Music Industries
He holds a from the National University of Ireland and I am an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London.

Institution: Government of Ireland - Department of Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht
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