THE LIGHTHOUSE CINEMA in Smithfield, Dublin has failed in its attempts to remain open.
The High Court has heard today that the lease on the building proved unrealistic after a doubling of its annual rent.
However, Lighthouse co-founder Maretta Dillon told TheJournal.ie today that the company knew the rent would be increasing from €100,000 to €200,000 after signing a lease to that effect in 2007. The Irish Times reports that the landlord, John Flynn, claims he had to raise the rent in order to pay NAMA.
Dillon says those behind the Lighthouse envisaged a different future for the locale:
We signed at a time when the landlord promised that the cinema would the based in a very specific type of environment. But Smithfield Square was never developed and the scope of the area was never realised.
Dillon says that she is very disappointed that efforts to reach a settlement with the landlord, John Flynn, have been unsuccessful, and that she is amazed that “neither the landlord nor, according to the landlord, NAMA were prepared to accept our circumstances in the current climate”. The company which runs the Lighthouse has now been liquidated.
Twenty jobs will be lost with the cinema’s closure, and Dillon has commended their work and called them a “great resource”. She has also praised the public’s efforts to keep the Lighthouse open, saying that the support was almost “the best thing about it some respects”. Facebook groups appeared calling for the facility to be saved, while local TD Joe Costello said that the closing of the cinema would turn the Smithfield area into “a ghost town“.
Local resident and Lighthouse customer and campaigner Sarah Cahill told TheJournal.ie:
Smithfield is now a ghost town thanks to crippling rents. Local people adore the Lighthouse. It is the only project under the Heritage Area Rejuvenation Project that materialised and is a massive loss to the community. It must re-open.