U2’s Bono is lending his support to plans to develop the controversial Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend in Dublin to a vast Hollywood-style film studio.
The would-be developers were at pains to stress that Bono (Paul Hewson) has absolutely no financial interest whatsoever in the proposed project.
Campaigners want the area to be developed for social housing but backers of the studio plan say the proposed 3,000 new homes would require only half of the proposed 80 acre site.
In November 2006, a consortium of prominent Irish property developers and what was then the Dublin Docklands Development Authority paid €412m for the 25 acres former Irish Glass Bottle site.
They calculated the development would cost about €3,300 per square metre and could be sold for €8,000 per square metre.
The proposed development was mired in controversy and never went ahead.
— Cllr. John Lyons (@JohnLyonsPBPA) May 24, 2016
The land – which ultimately cost €431 million when the price of acquisition, stamp duty and other costs was included – was valued in 2011 at €45 million. A couple of years later at €30m.
It is still the largest undeveloped parcel of land in Ireland’s most expensive district, Dublin 4 and one businessman is reported to have made a €30m profit on the sale of the lease while the DDDA lost €52m.
The people behind the studios proposal were behind another Docklands arts landmark, the celebrated Windmill Lane Studios, synonymous with U2.
For the past five years film producer Alan Maloney and Windmill Lane Studios founder James Morris have been pushing the idea which they say could employ up to 3,000 people, a claim supported in a report by KPMG.
Bono phoned Ireland’s then Environment (and Housing) Minister Alan Kelly “in order to promote the idea of a world-class film studio in Dublin”.
In a statement, Mr Morris and Mr Maloney said: “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.
“We should also point out that he has no financial interest whatsoever in this proposal.”