Struggling finances at Limerick’s UCH may balance out

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

LIMERICK’S University Concert Hall is in line for a €1.5m redevelopment over the coming years, its director has confirmed as its finances begin to stabilise.

LIMERICK’S University Concert Hall is in line for a €1.5m redevelopment over the coming years, its director has confirmed as its finances begin to stabilise.

Financial accounts just filed with the Companies Registration Office, it shows that the concert hall’s net deficit last year fell to €39,011 by the end of September 2011, down from €233,263 in 2010. However, its accumulated deficit going forward was over €487,000.

“The concert hall, has in common with many enterprises, encountered the effects of the current economic climate. It is likely also that this difficult climate will continue for the foreseeable future,” state the accounts.

It outlines that a “cost reduction programme” is being implemented to match “anticipated revenues and funding”, which “should in the long term restore the profitability levels of the concert hall.

“The directors have received a funding arrangement which will provide funding for the foreseeable future.”

It also states that in the long term the directors would like to increase the concert hall’s ability to reach a larger audience, outside of the UL community, “in a cost efficient manner”.

As part of its cost reduction programme, wages and salaries paid to 38 full and part-time staff last year amounted to €511,096. This was a decrease of over €100,000 since 2010, when €617,842 was paid when they employed 49 staff, and a further reduction from 2009, when they paid out €620,370.

Its bottom line last year was affected by a number of factors, said the recently appointed director David Collopy, including spending up to €40,000 on new equipment for the concert hall. However, the principal factor in its losses was payments made to Mr Collopy’s predecessor, Michael Murphy, who stepped down in April 2010 after 14 years at the helm.

The accounts show that Mr Murphy received a termination payment of €110,364, a redundancy payment of €8,333, and an additional €118,836 to provide “future consultancy services.” The concert hall received donations of €35,000 from Limerick city and county councils last year, however these donations were also down by €11,000 on the previous year. It also received funds from UL for lecture facilities.

The 1,000 seater concert hall was the first purpose built concert hall in Ireland of its time when it was opened in 1993 by the than Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. It is due to reopen on August 24, following renovations, when Jedward are scheduled to play for one night as part of their ‘Young Love’ tour.