Limerick enters the new year poised to make its debut as an international location for the film industry.
Limerick City and County Council has given its planning approval for the conversion of a huge former industrial unit near the University of Limerick at Plassey into film studios.
The site at a former Dell facility was acquired under long-term lease from the council two months ago by Troy Studios.
Troy’s directors include Ossie Kilkenny, who is a joint owner of Ardmore Studios in Bray, Siún Ní Raghallaigh, and film and television producer John Kelleher. The new studio will cover about 16,700sq m.
A number of film-makers in the US have already indicated their willingness to use the new studios.
Up to 500 people — 350 full-time and 150 part-time — are expected to get work in film productions.
Mr Kilkenny has been unable to cope with demand for Ardmore’s studios in Co Wicklow, and the new Limerick studios will double Ardmore’s current studio floor space.
The council planning department carried out a detailed assessment of the project. It is belive the development of the studios will involve alterations to the current structure and the erection of a new perimeter fence and access gates. Work on site is expected to commence within weeks.
The plans provide for the construction of a costume department, props area, sound studios, make-up area, workshops, and a large open area.
Limerick City and County Council bought the building from a Limerick businessman for €6m, and entered into a long-term lease arrangement with Troy Studios to use it for film-making.
Siún Ní Raghallaigh said the new studio would put Limerick on the international film-making map.
It is intended that the first filming work will commence in the first half of 2016.
The location, close to Shannon Airport, is seen as a major plus, along with the availability of five-star hotel rooms in the Mid-West.
Many of those who will be employed at the studios will be skilled workers including electricians, carpenters, painters, and technical personnel.
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