Almost €245m is to be invested in the arts following today's budget, an increase of  5.25% on 2007.

The Film Board has seen an increase of 18% in its funding, targeted at bringing international projects to Ireland.

Section 481, the tax relief incentive scheme for film and television productions in Ireland, is to be extended to 2012 and following the completion of a consultants report, further changes could be announced to the scheme in the Finance Act.

Culture Ireland has seen an increase of 6% in its funding for marketing Irish artists and art abroad.

Funding to the Arts Council is to increase by 6.4%, with a total funding package of €85m, an increase of €5m which includes €3million for touring.

The Arts council had sought an increase of €20million to bring its total funding to €100m.

However in a statement, Chairperson of the Council Olive Braidan said she welcomed today's allocation, especially in the circumstances of current public finances and she said the Arts Council will be continuing its work to achieve an allocation of over €100m for the arts annually.

It is now expected that the Arts Council Partnership for the Arts strategy will achive full funding by February 2009 rather than the end of 2008.