Call made to reopen Limerick’s Belltable Arts Centre

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

IN order for art and culture to thrive in Limerick, the Belltable must reopen.

IN order for art and culture to thrive in Limerick, the Belltable must reopen.

This is according to northside Labour councillor Tom Shortt, who represents City Council on the board of the arts centre.

The Belltable Arts Centre closed on a temporary basis on January 7, with the loss of five jobs.

This was in order for directors of the centre to deal with its debts.

But speaking at this week’s council meeting, Cllr Shortt says: “We need it to reopen, as quickly as possible.”

“When a place closes, and it loses life, it is missed in pubs and shops around town,” he added.

The Labour councillor pointed out that the Belltable is the only arts centre in the county - and said for future generations to be successful in writing, it is vital it survives.

“If we are to see new writing, it needs to come through an arts council-funded building. To see more of this work, we need to get the Belltable back on track,” he said, “It needs support from the city council, and the Arts Council.”

Directors at the O’Connell Street centre say in recent years its performances have been hampered by garage owner Michael Daly, who has carried out work while shows were on.

For his part, Mr Daly says it is not his intention to disrupt performances.

Cllr Shortt said at the meeting: “We cannot reopen until the owner of the garage gives an undertaking not to disturb performances.”

Cllr Shortt also says if the theatre is to reopen, proper office facilities are required.

“It has struggled for 30 years without a proper office for the staff.”

Cllr Shortt concluded: “We need to stop the decline in cultural activities, and this starts with the Belltable Arts Centre.”