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One of the screening theatres in the Lighthouse cinema, Smithfield

Closure of Lighthouse cinema would be "madness"

Labour TD Joe Costello warns that landlord who doubled rent to €200,000 would have difficulty getting permission for a change of use of the venue should the cinema close.

LABOUR TD JOE Costello has thrown his weight behind the ailing Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin.

A petition to wind up the three-year-old arthouse cinema is to be heard in the Lighthouse next Monday. The petition to close the venue is being taken by John Flynn, the landlord in whose property the cinema is housed. It emerged this week that Flynn had doubled the rent for the Lighthouse from €100,000 to €200,000 last May.

Costello, in whose Dublin Central constituency the Smithfield venue stands, said that the area would become “a ghost town” if the cinema closed down. He claimed that the cinema was a “viable cultural project” that employed 20 people and had been the recipient of €1.75m from the State in its initial fitout. He claimed there would be little prospect of the landlord getting permission for change of use of the venue and therefore it was pointless for him to shut down the business that was in situ.

The hike in the rent charged to the company behind the Lighthouse cinema also underlined the need to “urgently” amend the current upwards-only rent legislation for commercial premises, said Costello. He said it is “irrational at any time and scandalous in a recession” and said the Government had pledged to address that law.

He also blamed NAMA for “squeezing the life” out of property prices in urban areas in Smithfield, making them difficult to fill.

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