Ardmore needs €500,000 or faces The End


FOR ALMOST 54 years, Ardmore Studios in Bray, Co Wicklow, has been one of the stars of the Irish film set. It now faces closure unless its shareholders can secure about €500,000 to keep it ticking over until it secures a new big ticket production.

Ardmore Studios Ltd is two-thirds owned by Ardmore Studios International Ltd and one-third by Enterprise Ireland.

Ardmore Studios International Ltd is controlled by U2 manager Paul McGuinness and accountant and serial investor Ossie Kilkenny.

The studio’s financial fortunes have fluctuated over the years, being closely linked with securing major film or TV work. Latest accounts for 2010 show it made a profit of €331,860 on turnover of €2.8 million. However, its profit and turnover declined by 17 per cent and 11.8 per cent respectively that year. It has also racked up unpaid interest of €8.4 million on shareholder loans since 1990.

Opened in 1958 by then minister for industry commerce Seán Lemass, its list of film credits includes M y Left Foot, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Far Awayand Veronica Guerin.

More recently, it has been used by big-budget TV series such as the Tudorsand Camelot.

It pitched recently for Vikings, a 10-episode TV series by MGM but lost out to the new kid on the block – Ashford Film Studios.

Ashford is owned by Joe O’Connell and its stages are about twice the size of those in Ardmore. These are the types of facilities now being sought for big money TV and film productions.

McGuinness and Kilkenny have sought funding from the Irish Film Board to help keep the show on the road. So far, nothing has been forthcoming and they will close Ardmore in the coming weeks if they cannot secure the required finance. It would then be put up for sale and it would require a new owner to keep the cameras rolling.