Welcome for €2.25m funding for new Limerick film centre

Industry: Biblical Centre is to be transformed into a new film and skills training hub

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

Welcome for €2.25m funding for new Limerick film centre

New Film Centre: The former Biblical Centre on Dominic Street has been purchased €2.25m

LIMERICK’S drive to be a centre of excellence and location for film making got a huge boost at the weekend with a multi million euro grant from the government.

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney announced that the Biblical Centre on Dominic Street has been purchased to create a new training area for the film industry.

The minister confirmed that he had approved funding of €2.25 million for the purchase of the former Dominican property.

"I very much welcome this funding for Limerick. The purchase of this centre will be a key piece of infrastructure in the development of an employment creating Film industry here in Limerick,” said party colleague Senator Kieran O’Donnell.

Limerick City and County Council said in a statement that a new Production and Digital Skills Academy would be established to "take advantage of the opportunities being created by the opening of Troy Studios".

The Office of Regeneration and Limerick City and County Council, who have been trying to acquire and redevelop strategic sites across the city to stimulate the economic, social and physical regeneration of the city, had earmarked the Biblical Centre as a work and skills training centre to support the growing film/TV production industry in the area.

The news comes as Troy's new international 340,000 sq foot studio for film and television gears up, with construction well underway in Castletroy.

”One of the major challenges facing the industry is the lack of professional staff and trades people to build “sets” for example, and this new training centre will greatly assist in addressing this need,” said Minister Coveney.

The centre will be operated by Innovate Limerick, which was established by Limerick City and County Council in 2014 and have been tasked to design and implement a range of training initiatives to upskill potential staff and places will be specifically reserved on these courses for the regeneration communities.

Innovate Limerick will be working with Troy on the project. In addition to the training programmes, a number of other organisations will also use the centre.

The Academy is to set aside twenty per cent of their places for people from the regeneration areas of Limerick city. The council said that the plan is to have an all-Irish trained crew working at Troy Studios by 2020.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said the Academy was "an important step in the social and economic transformation of our regeneration areas.

"Our aim is to target specific groups of people from the four areas to give them training and the skills they need so they can walk onto the set of any film or TV production in Limerick and start working," he said.

"The Academy is a collaborative initiative bringing together representatives from Limerick City and County Council, Troy Studios, the Film Industry, relevant statutory agencies, local education and training bodies and community partners. The partners have a proven track record in matching training and education to the specific demands of particular industries and have achieved much success through various local initiatives,” he added.

Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council said: “The purchase of the Biblical Centre is another example of the local authority putting the jigsaw pieces in place to help boost the economic capability of Limerick city centre as part of our economic and spatial plan Limerick 2030.”

“The Centre is a strategically important building in the overall revitalisation of Limerick and it will form an anchor for the Digital Hub which we are establishing in the area and is an ideal location for the new Production and Digital Skills Academy,” Mr Murray added.

Michelle Brassil from Troy Studios welcomed the announcement.

“The move by the partnership, led by the local authority, to set up the Production and Digital Skills Academy shows the joined up thinking by everyone involved. Limerick has shown that all the components are already in place for the Academy to be a success," she said.

“In providing world class film studio infrastructure, Troy Studios will be the enabler for incoming productions that will seek to employ local production crews, trained to a very high standard. The Academy is a significant step forward in meeting this potential demand.”