Westmeath set to be location for new major film and TV studio

A site in Co. Westmeath has been selected as the location for a major film and TV studio.

Planning permission will soon be sought for the 25 acre site in the Lough Sheever Corporate Park in Mullingar as the location to build an extensive film and television studio campus.

It is understood the proposal is being brought forward by a number of executives who have over 30 years' experience in the film industry and formerly worked at Universal Pictures, Disney, and Troy Studios.

The project has the potential to generate 300 construction jobs. Once completed, the studio could employ up to 350 film crew members.

It is believed that the Lough Sheever site was selected due to its mix of accommodation, catering, and business services in the local area and it’s close proximity to Dublin, which serves as a major international travel hub.

Minister for State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke said it was an “exceptionally exciting" proposal.

"They're engaging with the local authority in relation to planning consultation, obviously the project of this scale it’s a colossal scale on a 25 acre site,” he said.

"It’s a huge facility and would be an international leader, it would really put Ireland on the map I feel in terms of the scale that's being proposed. The location is very strong in terms of transatlantic international travel from Europe, it’s an exceptionally good site that they have earmarked.” 

If planning permission is approved, phase one of the studio development is expected to be fully operational within 12 months.

The plans include the construction of 11 sound stages. A planning application will be submitted to Westmeath County Council next month.

The group behind the project said the growing demand for new film and television content means that there is a global shortage of studio space.

Recent figures published by Screen Ireland reveal a record-breaking spend of €500m in the Irish economy across film, television drama, documentary making, and animation in 2021.

This represents a 40pc increase on the previous record set in 2019.

The sector currently supports 12,000 jobs in Ireland, with significant additional expansion opportunities across all parts of the industry anticipated in the coming year.

Posted: 10th March 2022

(Irish Independent)