Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Pat Casey has called on Fine Gael and their Independent Alliance colleagues to explain why they have broken a commitment made on the sale of Ardmore Studios in Bray.
The Government previously made a clear commitment to inform TD’s and Wicklow County Council members regarding their plan to sell the States 33% shareholding in Ardmore Studios.
Deputy Casey said, “Since the Government made its ill-judged decision to sell its 33% shareholding in Irelands most iconic Film Studio, there has been a cloud over the future of the studio. The workers and the businesses that are central to the Film Industry in Wicklow have all reported to me of a significant reduction in upcoming productions or even forward planning for productions at Ardmore.
“This total shambles of Governmental responsibility with regard to a vital industry that has the potential to employ thousands of people throughout Wicklow and South Dublin is unacceptable. I have already revealed through my own investigation that the sale prospectus referred to the property development potential of the studio with the only protection being the current zoning restrictions by Wicklow County Council.
“I have worked for years with Wicklow County Council and the Film Industry to develop our Garden County as Ireland’s best production location. Unfortunately the biggest threat to the development of the Film Industry in Wicklow is the fiasco that this Government is overseeing at Ardmore.
“The workers at Ardmore, Wicklow County Council, and public representatives have been waiting for over 18 months for clarity, direction and proposals to retain and enhance Film production at Ardmore Studios. The then Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD arranged a meeting with local TD’s and representatives from Wicklow County Council assured us that she would consult with us again prior to any decision by the Government to sell its shareholding. This commitment has been broken if this sale as reported is true.
“Instead of focused leadership from Government to secure this industry, the people of Wicklow have had to endure months of uncertainty and now the State does not have any control about the future of this essential studio for the Film Industry on the East Coast.
“I will be raising this in the Dáil next week at the earliest opportunity. I am seeking assurances that this studio, which Government admits is a key element of the employment sector for the Mid-East region, remains a premier location for the Film Industry.”