1,000 film sector jobs at risk as studio talks stall

By Jimmy Woulfe Mid-West Correspondent

Up to 1,000 potential film industry jobs in Limerick are on hold over the stalling of talks involving a major studio, it was claimed last night.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on justice Niall Collins said Ardmore Studios is anxious to take over an industrial building once used by multi-nationals Wang and Dell.

But, he said, bureaucratic wrangling among various government departments has halted progress on the project which could generate up to 1,000 jobs.

It is understood that Ardmore Studios, which employs around 500 people at any one time, is worth in the region of €50m to the Bray area of Co Wicklow.

Located at Plassey Technological Park, near the University of Limerick, the building is one of the biggest covered spaces in the country, with a floor area measuring 340,000sq ft — twice the space Ardmore Studios has in Co Wicklow.

Mr Collins said plans by Ardmore cannot proceed until a review of the film industry is completed for government approval.

“I know that Ossie Kilkenny, who jointly owns Ardmore Studios, wants to move to the Limerick facility as soon as possible as they have not enough studio space at Ardmore. The industry is crying out for the kind of space Limerick has available,” Mr Collins said.

Limerick property developer PJ Noonan purchased the building 12 years ago and last year leased it to Limerick City and County Council for a number of major National City of Culture events. Ardmore and Limerick City and County Council have been in talks and drew up an expression of interest last year.

However, the Ardmore move has not made any progress in recent months.

Mr Collins said: “While we have huge tax incentives for film makers, film producers find it impossible to get the kind of studio space they need. I am reliably told that the Limerick building can fill a huge void, but any moves on its future use as a film studio cannot proceed while various government departments are talking among themselves on this review which is to go to the Taoiseach.

“We have this enormous resource ready to use. All this needs is push to get it over the line. In the meantime makers of movies are going elsewhere, due to government inaction,” he said.


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