Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ceisteanna (586)

Pat Casey


586. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the proposed sale of Enterprise Ireland's 32% shareholding in a studio (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the vital role the studio plays in the future development of the film industry, including in County Wicklow and the potential for retaining and expanding the State's shareholding in the studio; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22830/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

Ardmore Studios is a commercial entity, owned 68.33% by private interests and 31.67% by the State. The State’s shareholding is managed by Enterprise Ireland. As a passive investor, EI has no enterprise development role in Ardmore or any involvement in its day-to-day operations.

While Enterprise Ireland offers supports to exporting companies involved in film and the creative sector, policy responsibility for the development of the film industry rests with my colleague, Ms Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The sale of the Ardmore Studios is a commercial decision by the owners of the Studios. Ardmore Studios is being placed on the market for sale as a going concern.

Enterprise Ireland has not placed any pre-conditions on the pending sale of Ardmore Studios due to the existence of planning restrictions on the site which safeguard its use as a film making studio into the future. Wicklow County Council confirmed to me that they agree to maintain the film only zoning as a matter of policy.

Enterprise Ireland remains engaged with the Company and their representatives.

At the appropriate time, any proposal requiring a decision on the sale of Enterprise Ireland’s shareholding will be reviewed by Enterprise Ireland from a commercial and legal perspective in consultation with me as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. I in turn will consult the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

I recognise the value of the film sector to County Wicklow and as such, the Mid East Regional Action Plan for Jobs has a number of Actions to further support the film sector, including:

- a feasibility study and business plan for the development of a Film Industry Cluster in the county

- piloting a one day workshop in film industry related training

- building on the success of the film sector by providing supports and incentives, and developing ancillary services

- the provision of film industry related training programmes in partnership with 3rd level institutions.