It is shaping up as economic intrigue worthy of “Games of Thrones.”
A cross-border row has broken out over accusations that the Irish government is talking down the Six County economy, and trying to poach investors from the United States.
The claims were made by the Democratic Unionist Party leader, Arlene Foster, at the DUP annual party conference and they have sparked denials from the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan.
However, the Irish Echo understands that the Irish government has taken steps to ensure that investment headed for Ireland does come south.
The Dublin government is currently facilitating the creation of a huge movie studio complex in Limerick based on the site of the old Dell factory.
As a backdrop, there is a prevailing feeling within the government that the Republic lost out on “Game of Thrones,” which is filmed in large part in the North.
Envious eyes have been cast north of the border where the HBO production has delivered a huge boost to the Six County Economy.
And there is now a private drive to ensure that the Republic doesn’t lose out in the future.
Twenty years ago, the South was arguably the European country head and shoulders above anywhere else at attracting big budget productions outside of England.
“Saving Private Ryan,” “Braveheart” and “The Princess Bride” were all filmed in Ireland thanks to a generous tax allowance.
But much of that business moved north as subsidies and infrastructure improved there.
Minister Flanagan said he was “very concerned” at the DUP leader’s remarks, but a source said that within certain sections of the Dublin government, there was a growing competitive drive.
“The idea we would build this Limerick facility and not challenge for contracts that Northern Ireland was chasing just doesn’t make any sense,” said the source, who preferred not to be named.
The financing for the Limerick project – to be named Troy Studios - is being provided by Limerick City Council in association with private financing.
An open day was held three weeks ago for people interested in working in the new studios which are expected to come online next year.
This story first appeared in the Irish Echo. To read more articles, visit their website here.