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 weekâ€™s council meeting, Cllr Shortt says: â€œWe need it to reopen, as quickly as possible.â€
â€œWhen a place closes, and it loses life, it is missed in pubs and shops around town,â€ 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.
â€œIf 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,â€ he said, â€œIt needs support from the city council, and the Arts Council.â€
Directors at the Oâ€™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: â€œWe cannot reopen until the owner of the garage gives an undertaking not to disturb performances.â€
Cllr Shortt also says if the theatre is to reopen, proper office facilities are required.
â€œIt has struggled for 30 years without a proper office for the staff.â€
Cllr Shortt concluded: â€œWe need to stop the decline in cultural activities, and this starts with the Belltable Arts Centre.â€