Six new multiplexes will open in Ireland this year, in aconstruction boom that is tipped to boost Irish cinema admissions by 20% thisyear.

The Ward/Anderson Group, Ireland's biggest cinemaoperator with over 32 sites, last week opened the 13 screen Omniplex at theMahon Point retail centre in Cork city.

Omniplexis also opening a six-screen site at Oranmore on the outskirts of Galway city.

Irelandhas one of the highest rates of cinema-going in Europe with approximately 4.5visits per person per year and the flagship Irish sites of multinationaloperators UGC (Cineworld), UCI and Ster Century consistently outperform theirsites in the UK.

The newEuros 10m Omniplex Cork site has a total seating capacity of 2,642.

TheOmniplex opening follows hot on the heels of the launch of the nine-screen EyeCinema in Galway by a new local entrant to the market, property developerGerard Barrett of Edward Holdings. The company also proposes to develop aneight-screen site in the East coast town of Drogheda.

Ireland multiplex openings 2005
Reel Cinema Blackpool, Cork [7 screens]
Omniplex, Mahon, Cork [13 screens, 2,642 seats]
Eye Cinema, Wellpark, Galway [9 screens, 1,200 seats]
Omniplex, Oranmore Galway [6 screens]
Storm Cinemas, Limerick [14 screens, in two phases]
Movies@, Dundrum, Dublin [11 screens, 2,200 seats]
Further developments underway
Belfast (Victoria Square)
Drogheda (8 screens)
Salthill (Galway)
Swords (Co. Dublin)