Press Release | SPI calls on DCC to lift moratorium on new applications for filming on Henrietta St.

Press Release

Press Release | 2nd December 2015

Screen Producers Ireland calls on Dublin City Council to lift moratorium on new applications for filming permission on Henrietta Street

Screen Producers Ireland calls on Dublin City Council to lift the six month moratorium on new applications for filming permission on Henrietta Street.  SPI also objects to the manner in which this decision was made.  Notification was issued on 20th November to apply retrospectively from 13th November, without advance notice or consultation with residents, industry and other stakeholders. 
The proposal by DCC to hold a consultation on guidelines for filming on Henrietta St. is welcome but should have taken place before the decision to impose a moratorium was made.

The moratorium will have a severe impact on the offering of the Irish film and television industry. 

Henrietta Street is an important location for Irish film and television companies, for large and small scale productions.  The street is unique because it offers untouched Georgian architecture for both exterior and interior filming.   The streetscape, culminating in the King's Inns archway at the end of the cul-de-sac, is not available on another street in Dublin.  From a practical perspective, as it is a cul-de-sac, there are no issues around traffic diversion, which enables safe and efficient filming at a location.  

Major international period productions such as the drama series ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Ripper Street’ have used Henrietta Street as a key location.  In addition, many local Irish documentary and drama productions have filmed there including the RTÉ’s flagship 1916 drama ‘Rebellion’.  Productions are keenly aware and responsive to the legitimate interests of all residents and stakeholders on Henrietta Street, the vast majority of whom are supportive of filming on the Street. 

All of these productions provide significant employment and foreign direct investment into the Irish economy. ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Ripper Street’ combined expenditure in Ireland in the period June 2015 to May 2016 will be over €50 Million.  The current production of 9 episodes of ‘Penny Dreadful’ based at Ardmore Studios in Bray employs 1,200 Cast and Crew over the course of the production.  This figures does not include 12,000 days employment for local cast extras.

The unilateral decision taken by DCC, to suspend new applications for filming as of 13th November, without prior consultation or advance notice with the industry, sends a negative message about Dublin and Ireland being ‘open for business’.   This action by DCC runs contrary to Government policy to support growth in the film and television sector.

Screen Producers Ireland calls on Dublin City Council to lift the moratorium on new applications for filming permission on Henrietta Street, as a matter of urgency, until due democratic process of the proposed DCC consultation has taken place.

Commenting on the issue, Catherine Tiernan, Membership & Business Affairs Executive at Screen Producers Ireland said:
“DCC and the industry have developed a progressive partnership approach to the management of filming permissions in Dublin City over the past number of years.  A formal charter for filming on Henrietta Street was drawn up in consultation with residents, local stakeholders, the Location Managers Guild and the Film Commission at the Irish Film Board.  It details the protocols required for filming on Henrietta St.  This unilateral decision by DCC runs contrary to all protocols developed with the industry.
 “This moratorium must also be considered in the broader context of locations currently available in Dublin.  Already this year the portfolio of locations available in Dublin has been significantly eroded.  Clancy Barracks in Islandbridge became unavailable as a location in 2015 as the property is now being developed as a housing complex.  During 2016 there will be restrictions on some OPW and other buildings in the city due to the 1916 commemorations.  This all adds up to a significant contraction of locations available for period productions in Dublin.”

For further information please contact:  Catherine Tiernan, Membership & Business Affairs Executive  Tel. 01 662 1114
Notes to Editor:
Screen Producers Ireland is the national representative organisation of independent film, television and animation production companies