Limerick actor and businessman square up over noise

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

AWARD-winning actor John Anthony Murphy and garage owner Mick Daly were involved in a heated exchange after noise “jeopardised” a performance of Pigtown this week

AWARD-winning actor John Anthony Murphy and garage owner Mick Daly were involved in a heated exchange after noise “jeopardised” a performance of Pigtown this week

Professional actor John, who is playing the lead role of Tommy Clocks in the acclaimed production, was left dismayed after the noise of a motor car disrupted the second half of Tuesday night’s performance.

After seeing the negative effect this had on other members of the cast, Mr Murphy marched out into the laneway behind the theatre where Mr Daly runs his business, and remonstrated with the garage owner.

Mr Daly – who has been in dispute with the theatre since it reopened last year over the effect on his business – alleged the actor used foul and abusive language.

The pair clashed again this Wednesday morning after local councillor Tom Shortt showed the Limerick Leader sound recording equipment to monitor the levels and pattern of noise behind the Belltable, which is paying €3,000 a month for the equipment. The blazing row was captured by our photographer, Adrian Butler.

The sound device, coupled with CCTV will record the noise on a 24-hour-a-day, seven day a week basis, Cllr Shortt said.

Mr Daly, says he has the right to work at his garage on a 24-hour basis under a planning permission. “I have been here 40 years and at one time there was six of us working here. There has always been noise coming from here but they could not hear it until they did the renovations to the Belltable. The place is not properly insulated,” he says.

He added that he does not consciously set out to disrupt performances at the Belltable, and claims management there have “bullied” him on a number of occasions. But following Tuesday night’s performance, Mr Murphy said he had never experienced disruption like this throughout his 25 years on stage: “The anger and upset was huge. You are trying to perform in a play which has delicate moments, and then to hear the engine of a car revving at a ridiculously high level at 10 o’clock at night is wrong. It is a direct attack on the audience,” the Ennis Road native said.

He confirmed after the play, he confronted Mr Daly, and strong words were exchanged.“It is not the ideal way to do things. But what have I done to deserve the level of extreme interference that he inflicted,” the actor asked, adding he is fearful other theatre companies will think twice about performing in Limerick in future.

“This is not just an attack on the Belltable, or certain individuals. It is an attack on Limerick,” he added.

Cllr Shortt added: “The enjoyment of the audience was jeopardised by what was doing on. One of the actresses was in floods of tears because the experience hurt her so much.”

Mr Daly expressed sympathy to any performer who was upset by the noise, but added: “It is my premises, I can come in any night I want. Do I have to apologise for working? I am sick of all this.” Cllr Shortt has set up a meeting between the cast and city management.