Film industry exploitation in Ireland must end

03 October 2023
  • Actors in Ireland must get Fair Pay

Labour spokesperson on Arts, Senator Marie Sherlock, has today expressed her strong support for Irish actors and the union Irish Equity in their campaign to ensure fair pay in Ireland’s film industry.

Today a petition, signed by over 3,700, actors was handed over at the gates of Leinster House calling on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight Report on Section 481, the film tax credit.The Report made clear that Irish performers are subject to lesser terms and conditions regarding their intellectual property rights than international performers in similar roles.

Senator Sherlock said:

“For the past 30 years Irish actors have faced a deeply unfair system whereby in order to work here many have had to enter buy out contracts for future residual earnings on their work.

“This means future earnings from their creative work does not accrue to them, but to production companies and others controlling the film sector here. What makes this all the harder to swallow, is that film made here in Ireland is in receipt of generous tax credits.This is a serious injustice that must be rectified.

“Firstly, we are calling for the full transposition of the Copyright Directives which are intended to protect actors’ future earnings but were shoddily transposed.

“Secondly, it is absolutely vital that projects in receipt of the Section 481 tax credit must be in compliance with the Copyright Directive, so that Irish actors here are not subjected to poorer terms and conditions relative to other actors working here.

“Irish Equity’s petition is a really important initiative, and I fully support it. Actors have the right to be fairly compensated for their work, and to have their rights protected.

“I call on the Government to take immediate action to implement the recommendations of the Committee’s report, and to ensure that Irish performers are treated fairly. Projects in receipt of public Section 481 funding must give assurance Irish performers will not be subject to lesser terms and conditions regarding their intellectual property rights than international performers in similar roles when employed on the same project.

“Labour believes the State should continue to invest and strongly support the Irish film and TV industry. However, this support must not ride roughshod over intellectual property and copyright rights over future earnings. Ensuring that all Irish performers are treated fairly is essential to building a sustainable and equitable film and TV industry.”

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