Potential bidders for the iconic Ardmore Studios in Wicklow have been told the facility could be developed for residential housing despite the Government's repeated insistence it will be sold as a going concern, RTÉ has learned.
The film studio's attractiveness as a location for 'south Dublin' housing is highlighted in a confidential sales prospectus for the complex, which is currently on sale for an estimated €15m.
RTÉ's This Week radio programme obtained a copy of the 40-page prospectus, which was circulated to private investors, but which was denied to TDs and to Wicklow councillors.
State agency Enterprise Ireland owns a 32% stake in the company while the remaining shareholding is held by Ardmore Studios International Limited.
The majority shareholders in the company are former accountant for U2, Ossie Kilkenny, and the band's former manager, Paul McGuinness.
IBI Corporate Finance is acting for Ardmore in the sales process.
The confidential sales document devotes an entire page to the site's potential for residential development.
Wicklow-based Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey said that the revelation was a cause for worry for public representatives like himself, who are concerned that the land may ultimately be used for housing and that filming might move to one of several other locations currently being developed.
A spokeswoman for Ardmore Studios told RTÉ that the company's plan was to sell the facility to a buyer who would continue to use it as a film studio.
"It is being positioned for sale as a going concern, that's the objective of the directors," she said.
A spokesman for the Enterprise Minister, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, echoed the same view. "It is the Government's intention to do whatever is best to support Ardmore continuing as a strong commercial proposition and a key piece of studio infrastructure for the development of the film industry in Ireland," the Minister's spokesman said.
Enterprise Ireland told RTÉ that it "has not been involved in the day-to-day business of running Ardmore Studios".
"Now, that the decision has been made to sell, any funds arising out of the sale will be reinvested by the Enterprise Ireland investment team to drive the growth of Irish enterprise," said Enterprise Ireland.
Ardmore Studios has been home to numerous high-profile productions including the Oscar-winner Braveheart; and more recently Moone Boy and Penny Dreadful.
Productions currently on site include The Professor and the Madman, involving actors Mel Gibson and Sean Penn.