'7 Days' visits the newly opened Forum Cinema in Dun Laoghaire and meets owner Barney O'Reilly.

Going against the recent trend in cinema closures, The Forum opens with the first automated projector in Ireland and owner Barney O'Reilly says,

I am in no doubt whatsoever that there is a demand for a cinema.

The building has previously operated as a cinema, dance hall, and a bingo venue. While the original cinema seated 750, it has been reduced in size to 408 seats, bringing it up to standard with present day venues and offering extra leg room.

The Forum also boasts the most modern equipment of its kind in Ireland. In the projection room Mr O'Reilly describes this news automated technology, which will require just one worker to operate.

I could run an entire two and a half hour programme through without a break.

However, all was not plain sailing for the newly opened independent cinema. As the Forum was a non-union cinema Mr O'Reilly ran into conflict with Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU) who put a block on the supply of films to the Forum. In protest on 19 November 1971 Mr O'Reilly went on a five day hunger strike where he locked himself into the cinema consuming only water.

The row between the Forum owner and the ITGWU ended in December 1971, when Mr O'Reilly agreed to employ union labour. The cinema reopened on 7 December with a showing of the film M.A.S.H.

A '7 Days' report broadcast on 26 November 1971. The reporter is Ted Nealon