Universal Pictures International (UPI) UK & Eire has appointed an Irish team responsible for the sales, marketing and publicity of the company's products in Ireland.

The move follows the ending of Universal and Paramount's joint distribution operation, UIP, in the territory.

The Dublin UPI office, led by general manager David Burke, will be operational from January 2007.

Burke previously worked with leading independent Irish distributor Eclipse Pictures for four years and prior to that with Clarence Pictures.

He will be joined by Publicity Manager, Maryse Fitzpatrick, formerly with Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation) Ireland and Jennifer Finegan as Sales Manager (previously with Twentieth Century Fox).

'It's incredibly exciting to set up a brand new film distribution office in Ireland,' said Burke. 'It's proof of the confidence that Universal Pictures has in the Irish market.'

Ireland has one of the highest cinema-going audiences in Europe and we look forward to bringing UPI's fantastic slate to the market.'

The new team will assume direct responsibility for a portfolio of over 25 pictures in 2007, including: Working Title's Smokin' Aces, Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, Mr Bean's Holiday, Zhang Yimou's Curse Of The Golden Flower and Paul Greengrass's The Bourne Ultimatum.