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Fianna Fáil councillor slams arthouse cinema as 'huge waste of taxpayer money'

Galway City Council’s funding of a new arthouse cinema doesn’t sit well with Councillor Michael Crowe.

Picture Palace, Galway
Picture Palace, Galway
Image: Picture Palace/Facebook

THE CONSTRUCTION OF Galway’s first ever arthouse cinema has faced a series of setbacks since work began on the city centre site back in 2009.

Having been stalled for close to a year after its original contractor went into liquidation, the project was granted a further €242,000 by Galway City Council last week.

But the decision has been criticised by Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Crowe, who thinks the council should refuse to continue supporting the project.

Crowe, the only Galway city councillor to reject the vote, said the council had been given false assurances before previous funding rounds that the project would require no further financial support.

And he told TheJournal.ie that a local dog charity’s request for €10,000 worth of emergency funding was rejected during the same meeting last week.

Crowe called the Picture Palace “a huge waste of taxpayer money” and said other services should be prioritised instead.

Capture Michael Crowe Source: fiannafail.ie

Reluctant vote

Other councillors, however, said they were left with little option but to continue supporting the plan.

Fine Gael’s Pádraig Conneely told TheJournal.ie that he felt compelled to approve the latest round of funding as the council had already purchased the cinema’s site for €1.9 million and provided a further €200,000 in funding.

What were we going to do: lose all the money that was invested?

Conneely, who previously voiced major concerns to the Connacht Tribune, added that he voted in favour of last week’s motion “reluctantly”.

He was conscious, he said, that the cinema is an important asset in Galway’s bid for the 2020 Capital of Culture.

The long-delayed project was awarded completion funding of €735,000 by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in August.

The Irish Film Board and Western Development Commission have also partly covered the cost of construction.

The Picture Palace, close to Galway city’s Spanish Arch, will have three screens, a café and bookshop.

Element Pictures, the Irish film company that took over Dublin’s Lighthouse Cinema in 2012, is expected to operate the cinema once it opens.

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About the author:

Catherine Healy

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