Plans to establish vast Hollywood-style film studios in Dublin, directly employing almost 3,000 people, are at an advanced stage and are likely to be announced shortly, The Irish Times has learned.
Windmill Lane Studios founder James Morris and film producer Alan Moloney have confirmed they are developing proposals to build studios on the former Irish Glass Bottle site at Ringsend, alongside 3,000 proposed homes.
The plan has been in preparation for nearly five years with an Irish-American consortium. A number of favourable studies have been completed, including one by KPMG.
Under the plan, which has attracted positive signals from studios in Hollywood, 180,000sq ft of studio space, with several individual "sound stages" – large warehouses where sets are built and films shot – would be constructed.
The studios would be constructed on one side of the 80-acre site and would not interfere with the existing plans to build 3,000 homes, which can be built on little more than 40 acres, sources say.
The project has won the support of U2 singer Bono, who lobbied the last government in support of the project and has been involved in whipping up support for the Irish location with major studios.
According to an entry in the statutory register of lobbyists – which contains details of all lobbying activity – Bono telephoned former minister for the environment Alan Kelly to press him to support the studios.
The entry states: “An informal phone call was made in order to promote the idea of a world-class film studio in Dublin.”
The entry was made in the name of Paul Hewson, Bono's real name.
Discussions have also taken place with other ministers and with the State's Strategic Investment Fund, along with the Industrial Development Authority, which has inspected Hollywood facilities.
Mr Morris and Mr Maloney told The Irish Times they had been "actively pursuing" the plan for "a world-class film studio for some time".
It would, they said, create 2,800 jobs directly, along with 2,800 indirect jobs in a green industry with a track record of delivering long term sustainable jobs.
"We are delighted to have the support of Bono, who has been a tireless campaigner for the creative arts, for investment in Ireland – and has a global reputation in the creative industries," they said, "We should also point out that Bono has no financial interest whatsoever in this proposal."
Global demand for studio space is rising.
“Ireland,” their statement said, “is now a very attractive location to produce television series and movies. Ireland needs the infrastructure to capitalise on the growth of the film and digital industries and the growing international success of Irish film-making talent.”