| 13.3°C Dublin

Coillte branches out as it bids for more film shoots

THE State's forestry service is branching out and offering its extensive land portfolio as sets for films and TV programmes.

The move is designed to help Coillte expand its revenue base but it is not known how much money will be raised for the semi-state company.

Coillte oversees about 445,000 hectares of land, or about 7pc of the land cover of Ireland.

TV productions have already been filmed on its land, including the fantasy drama show 'Camelot', portions of the hit RTE crime drama 'Love Hate' and the Sky production 'Moone Boy'. Now officials in the commercial semi-state company want to officially market the extensive land portfolio in a bid to help promote their assets and raise cash.

It is looking to hire a company or group that will identify, photograph, describe and catalogue suitable locations for filming within its extensive estate.

A spokesman for the company said it had received requests from production companies to use its land.

"We're already in this business. We've had many things filmed in our estates over the years, but it has tended to be reactive," he said. "This is a chance to be proactive."

Last month, the Irish Independent reported bosses at Coillte had complained that the Government's salary cap of €191,000 would make it difficult to recruit a new chief executive.

In a letter to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, chairman Brendan McKenna also claimed performance-related pay -- or bonuses -- were a "critical component" in attracting top executives.

The tenure of current chief executive David Gunning, whose salary stands at just over €250,000, will run out early next year.

Irish Independent