Statement from the Board of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) on Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Power

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Statement from the Board of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) on Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Power

Following the recent allegations of sexual harassment and the abuses of power within the worldwide entertainment industries and in Ireland, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) unreservedly condemns such behaviour. For many, the creative arts in general — and filmmaking in particular — exist as a space of creativity and empowerment and we are deeply saddened to learn that for some people, this has not been the case. The IFB not only condemns these dangerous manifestations of power, but stands in solidarity with the victims. We admire their courage and bravery immensely and we thank them for using their voices in such a powerful manner during an extremely difficult time. At the IFB, while we place diversity, inclusion and gender equality at the heart of what we do and who we are, we recognise that we are now at a crucial tipping point, where robust and definitive action is needed to exact real and lasting change.

We welcome Minister Humphreys’ recent announcement detailing a suite of measures on workplace harassment in the arts and culture sector and vow to work closely with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in any way necessary to support the sector in creating a safe working environment and culture. Earlier this month, Screen Training Ireland (the national training and development resource for the Irish screen industries, managed by the IFB), along with Irish Equity, SIPTU and Screen Producers Ireland held a Dignity in the Workplace seminar, which was extremely well-attended and focused on establishing safe and dignified workplaces within the Irish arts sector and across audio-visual and live performance production.

We will continue to implement our Six Point Plan on Gender Equality published in December 2015, on which we elaborated in our Five-Year Strategic Plan, Building on Success: 2016 – 2020, which we launched in July 2016. Gender equality and diversity remain a key remit of this Plan as, for the national state agency for film, television and animation, it is vitally important that we represent a contemporary Ireland with all of its uniqueness, originality of voice and cultural diversity. We have vowed to tackle inequality in Irish filmmaking and screen content, particularly in the roles of writers and directors, and achieving 50/50 gender equality remains our priority.

At the IFB, we have a comprehensive Dignity at Work policy and we have always been committed to providing a work environment free from bullying and harassment of any kind. While this policy extends to everyone involved in our work — whether they are employees or clients — as we are committed to being a leading voice and a guiding light for the industry, we must endeavour to not only lead by example, but to take an active role in an industry-wide shift in perspective. With that in mind, the IFB will be implementing specific contractual obligations on all those to whom it provides production funding to fully implement the Dignity at Work policy. We will be working with producers so that this will be in place in the work environment for film productions, including on sets, in studios, on location and in production offices; ensuring that bullying, sexual harassment and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 

— Annie Doona, Chair, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board on behalf of the Board

For more information or further queries, please contact Jamie Tuohy, jamie.tuohy@irishfilmboard.ie