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€1bn being lost to film industry, says Ardmore

IRELAND is missing out on major international film and television projects - and revenues of around €1bn a year - because of an inadequate amount of studio space.

Ardmore Studios, which was involved in some of the biggest productions the country has hosted, has now called on the Government for urgent investment in an audio/visual infrastructure.

The company, based in Bray, Co Wicklow, has revealed that it has even had to turn down business due to a lack of available space.

Ardmore, which worked on The Tudors, Penny Dreadful and Braveheart, has said that the country "urgently" requires a minimum of 100,000 square-foot of additional studio space.

It has called on the Government to establish a €15m infrastructure fund to support the audio/visual sector.

And it has argued that such an investment had the potential to realise 5,000 new, high-skilled job and increase annual revenues to €1bn.

The company said that each international series generates between €30m and €50m a year in local expenditure and creates 350 to 500 jobs.

But the studio has also warned that Northern Ireland has invested heavily in such studio space.

"Northern Ireland has created more studio space in the last six years than we have in total across the country and they have announced plans to double their current capacity," a statement said.

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The studio said that Ireland's film and TV production industry was poised to gain substantially from tax credit benefits announced in the last budget.

But it added that the desired growth is hindered by the lack of sufficient studio space and facilities to enable these benefits to materialise,

Chief executive of the studio, Siun Ni Raghallaigh, said that Ireland currently has a total of just 111,000 square-feet of industry standard studio space.

She pointed out that this was at a time when the global market for creative audio visual content is projected to grow at a rate of 30pc over the next five years.

Ms Ni Raghallaigh estimated it would cost €30m to develop a further 100,000 square-foot of studio space and 150,000 square-foot of support buildings required to cater for international productions here.

"We are asking the Government to establish a fund of €15m to enable the sector take best advantage of the film credit scheme and create sustainable growth," she said.

"The lack of suitable studio space is an issue of great concern for the industry. We ourselves have had to turn away business in the past year because we simply do not have the required capacity," she added.

Ms Ni Raghallaigh said there was strong international interest in Ireland as a production location thanks to tax breaks.

hnews@herald.ie


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