The Savoy Theatre, the venue that brought the people of Limerick cinema, music, variety and theatre could be lost to the city.
Limerick's Savoy Theatre is in need of serious investment and badly needed restoration work and will remain closed unless a new plan can be put in place.
The Savoy is to Limerick what the Theatre Royal once was to Dublin.
The classic 1930s style cine-variety palace was built in an era when the cost of maintenance was minimal. With the decline of Hollywood and variety and the advent of television brought the theatre's heyday to an end.
The theatre was acquired in 1975 by Limerick businessman Tony O'Mara with the intention of retaining it as a theatre with the addition of a bar and restaurant. Over the years, some development on the front of the building was carried out but now it is financially impractical to try to keep the theatre open.
Between 1975 and 1981, the theatre incurred a loss of around £300,000. The theatre has been run for the last few years by Brendan Murray but he too has found it difficult to continue to justify his involvement.
The Savoy is just one of many casualties of theatres and cinemas which have closed their doors in recent years. Many people believe that if the Savoy closure becomes permanent, then Limerick will have lost an amenity which can never be replaced.
Tony O'Mara believes,
A city the size of Limerick deserves a theatre. It certainly deserves a building of this nature.
Unfortunately, restoration of the Savoy as it currently stands is not an economic proposition. Tony O'Mara is optimistic that restoration would be possible if the theatre was included in the government's Urban Renewal Programme. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 April 1988. The reporter is Michael Walsh.
The future of the Savoy Theatre was not to be and in 1989 the bulldozers moved in.