New €20m Wexford movie studio gets planning approval

Tara Studios development will include seven studios

An Bord Pleanála has given its approval for a new €20 million movie studio for Co Wexford. The Tara Studios Ltd development will include seven studios, 10 workshops and two office buildings within the curtilage of Borleagh House eight kilometres north west of Gorey.

The appeals board granted planning permission after dismissing its own inspector’s recommendation to refuse the plan, which Tara Studios said “would amount to doubling the size of the Irish inward investment for film industry in Ireland”, when operational.

The application also enclosed an email from a Netflix executive underlining that “studio capacity in Ireland is limited”.

In the email from Eoin Egan, Netflix’s then director of studio & production operations - physical production, to Tara Studios director Ivan Dunleavy, Mr Egan stated: “As we both agree, studio capacity in Ireland is limited and not capable of supporting the scale of filming, we and other players may wish to consider for production in Ireland.”


Limerick native Mr Egan added: “We also encourage production infrastructure development in the regions to help to grow the industry outside of the traditional hub clusters.”

He said Netflix “would appreciate seeing further competition in the marketplace based on your proposed plan.”

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The Tara Studios project will directly employ 30, with this expanding to 430 jobs plus 200 extras during a large production.

The business plan for the project aims to attract not less than one major feature film or returning high-end TV series, each with a budget of €70 million-plus.

Tara Studios won approval for the studio plan in January last year but an objection from John Molloy of Orchard Close, Ardcavan, Wexford meant it went before the appeals board. Mr Molloy argued it would be a blight on the landscape, also arguing that the filming of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan filming had little benefit. Curracloe beach, five miles north of Wexford town was used in the filming of the D-Day landings in the 1998 movie.

In her 65-page report dated December 16th last, board inspector Suzanne Kehely recommended a refusal stating that the proposed development would be likely to cause serious water pollution due to the capacity of the local authority waste water treatment plant to adequately treat the waste water from the proposed development.

However, board chairman, Dave Walsh said that in deciding not to accept the recommendation to refuse, the board found that additional information provided by Tara Studios in relation to the treatment of waste water and traffic impact, along with the views of the council, addressed the specific issues raised by the inspector.

As a result, the board stated that it was satisfied that the proposed development would not have an unacceptable impact on the wider environment and the scheme can proceed based on plans submitted in May of this year.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times