Limerick council chief insists Ardmore talks are ‘positive’

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Talks 'ongoing': Conn Murray, chief executive of the council
COUNCIL chief executive Conn Murray has insisted that talks with Ardmore about developing a film and television production studio in the city “remain ongoing”.

COUNCIL chief executive Conn Murray has insisted that talks with Ardmore about developing a film and television production studio in the city “remain ongoing”.

Concern has been brewing at the lack of an announcement regarding the plans to develop a major production hub in the old Dell building in Castletroy, which the council has bought - through its Innovate Limerick arm - for the specific purpose of housing “a major international media hub”.

Questioned at a recent meeting of the council, Mr Murray said “discussions remain ongoing. We are still very positive and there is still a very positive frame around the development”.

The link-up between Ardmore - currently home to major television series such as Penny Dreadful - was expected to be announced shortly after the council bought the building for €5.5m in May. A spokesperson for Ardmore declined to comment and said there was “no more news to report – talks are ongoing”.

The spokesperson failed to respond to a query about a report in the Wicklow People on June 13 last which saw Ardmore CEO Siún Ní Raghallaigh quoted as saying “she was as ‘surprised’ as anyone with the reports linking Ardmore to Limerick”.

This sentiment would appear to fly in the face of a statement issued to this newspaper by the studio on May 25 which said Ardmore was “assisting the city in its endeavours to make Limerick the centre for growth in the film and television sector.

“They have cemented their commitment by acquiring the building. We are in discussions with them and expect to announce further details in the coming weeks.”

The recent chief executive’s council report said the 350,000 sq foot building “will be used to house the Mid-West’s first film studio hub in association with Ardmore Studios, which could result in the creation of 750 new jobs and a commercial spin off of €70m for the local economy”.