Saturday 10 December 2016

Disney chief warning on studio space

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 27/04/2015 | 02:30

IRELAND FROZEN OUT? The head of Disney’s Irish division has said a lack of film studio space could see this country lose out on investment to the UK
IRELAND FROZEN OUT? The head of Disney’s Irish division has said a lack of film studio space could see this country lose out on investment to the UK

The head of Disney's Irish division has said a lack of film studio space could see this country lose out on investment to the UK.

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Trish Long, general manager of Walt Disney Studios' distribution business here, told the Irish Independent that there was a "huge" need for additional film studio space in the country.

"As the industry picks up, it's going to become more and more difficult, because if someone has a need for studio space and it can't be filled here, right on our doorstep is the UK - which has the most amazing infrastructure of studio space.

"Given the level of business and talent already [in Ireland], in anticipation of increased demand we need to have greater studio space and access to studio space."

Breaks

Tax breaks provided by the Irish Government in the hope of tempting foreign productions here could help attract productions filming in the North to also work in the Republic.

"There is a greater tax break here now than ever and a lot of people making films can work in the North, in the UK and in Ireland and the tax-break environment would be very supportive of that," she said.

Ms Long's comments echo concerns previously raised by the chief executive of Ardmore Studios, the largest film and TV studio in the country.

Ardmore's Siún Ní Raghallaigh, who is also chairwoman of TG4, has previously said that the Bray, Co Wicklow, studio has been forced to turn away business due to a lack of capacity.

She called on the Government to establish a €15m fund for investment in studio infrastructure and said that the country "urgently" requires a minimum of 100,000 square-foot of additional studio space.

She said it is possible to double the number of people employed in the Irish audiovisual industry - to 10,000 - by 2022, but only if the infrastructure is in place.

In November, Ardmore teamed up with the Limerick city and county council to pitch for State funds to develop a major production hub in a 340,000sq ft industrial building formerly used by Dell.

Although there were reports that the development had stalled, both sides have insisted that talks are ongoing.

Ardmore has warned of competition from the North where Northern Ireland Screen, has a £43m (€60m) fund to attract productions.

Irish Independent

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