State must retain interest in Ardmore Studios

Wicklow County Council is calling on the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor, to ensure that the State retains its interest in Ardmore Studios in Bray which is up for sale.

At its recent monthly meeting councillors passed a resolution that the Minister be written to and also that she and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Ms Heather Humphries, receive a delegation from Wicklow County Council.

The aim of the meeting with the two Ministers would be to stress the importance of Ardmore Studios to the film industry national and locally and also to the economy of County Wicklow.

The councillors also called on the five TDs for County Wicklow to lend their support to this delegation and to the proposal that the State retains its shareholding in Ardmore Studios.

The Action Plan for Jobs 2016-2017 for the Mid-East Region identified the film industry as a key area of strength and one that has potential to offer opportunity for strategic development in the region.

County Wicklow itself has a strong reputation as a hub for the film industry and has excellent capacity for large-scale film production, being home to two state-of-the-art film studios:  Ardmore Studios and Ballyhenry Studios in Ashford.

One of the actions identified in the Action Plan for Jobs for the Film Industry is to: “Build on the region’s strengths as a hub for film production through the development of an internationally recognised audio-visual industry cluster.”

A similar objective has been included in the recently adopted Local Economic and Community Plan for County Wicklow which is to: “Capitalise on the immediate and future economic opportunity in the Film and Television Industry and support the expansion of the sector in the county.”

Speaking following the Council meeting, the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Bryan Doyle, said: “Developing a Film Industry Cluster in County Wicklow represents a real opportunity to drive investment and job creation in the County and if managed effectively the County could leverage up to €1bn in inward investment and up to 5,000 jobs from this opportunity alone.  However, this cannot happen without the necessary studio infrastructure and the Council is working hard develop this capacity’. “

 Councillor Pat Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, stated: “County Wicklow has a long track record in the film sector and a large number of leading film and audio visual professionals live and work in the County.  The recent announcement by Ardmore requires an urgent and coordinated response from all agencies to recognise the importance of Ardmore Studios to the Film industry to County Wicklow and to do what is necessary to ensure that the state retains its interest in Ardmore”.

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