Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General election candidate John Brady has said that everything that can be done should be done to ensure that Wicklow remains the number one County and destination for film and TV production. Brady raised the issue and concerns at a recent meeting of Wicklow County Council and said any attempt by Limerick to lure the industry there needs to be challenged at every level. He also called for a €15m infrastructure fund to be established to create additional studio space to allow the industry grow.
Speaking after the council meeting Councillor Brady said “Wicklow is synonymous with film and TV production. The National film studios opened in Ardmore in 1958 and more recently the Ashford studios opened in Ballyhenry, Ashford. Many movies and TV productions have been made in Wicklow and currently the Vikings and Penny Dreadful are being shot. After recent discussions with the CEO of Ardmore Studios it became apparent that a severe lack of studio space was hampering the growth of the sector and high profile work was being turned down as a result”.
“Recently there has been speculation that Limerick City and County Council is involved in advanced negotiations to purchase the former Dell building in Plassey Technology Park and develop in into a film studio and to lease the building to Ardmore Studios. Any attempt to lure Ardmore Studios to Limerick must be fought and I believe it’s unethical for one Local authority to try poach existing industry and business from another local authority”.
Cllr Brady continued “The film industry is very important to the Wicklow economy and provides excellent employment; any loss would have a detrimental effect. At Monday’s council meeting I proposed to invite the CEO of Ardmore Studios Siún Ní Raghallaigh to the next council meeting to discuss the plans for Ardmore Studios”.
“I also had a motion passed calling on the Government to establish a €15m infrastructural fund to support the audio-visual sector which has the potential to create 5,000 new high-skill jobs and to almost double the studio space to help compete with the UK and attract more productions”.
Brady concluded “Everything needs to be done to ensure the film and TV production industry remains in Wicklow. Wicklow County Council has a leading role to play in helping to develop the industry; any attempt to relocate to Limerick should and will be fought”. Ends
Motion passed by Wicklow County Council
“Wicklow County Council welcomes the changes to the film tax credit scheme (section 481) which will help grow substantially Ireland’s film and TV production industry. However the desired growth is hindered by the lack of sufficient studio space and facilities to enable these benefits to materialise. Furthermore this Council calls on the government to establish a €15m infrastructure fund to support the audio-visual sector which has the potential to create 5,000 new high-skill jobs and to almost double the studio space in Ireland with a minimum of 100,000 sq ft in additional studio space (which is currently 111,000 sq ft) to compete with other territories such as the UK.”