New technology, fewer film titles and a recession are contributing to a challenging environment for Irish cinema owners.

Cinema owners in Dublin, Cork and Tullamore tell 'Public Account' about the current state of their business in Ireland.

Allegations abound of collusion and monopolies in the Irish cinema industry with agreements between cinema distributors and cinema owners pushing out some people in the business. 

Add to this the added pressures of changes in technology, a smaller number of films on offer, and an economic recession, and the future looks bleak for many in the industry. 

What exactly is the state of the cinema business in Ireland in 1983?

According to Brendan McCaul of the Society of Film Distributors, the general health of the business is dependent on what is in the marketplace. 1982 was not a very good year for the cinema. However, 1983 has started well with ET, Tron, Gandhi, Tootsie, Superman III, Octopussy, Return of the Jedi, all making a big impact at the box office.

While there may be good films around in 1983, a number of cinemas in Ireland are in trouble. The Cameo in Cork is struggling to stay open and the Grand Central in Tullamore has closed its doors for the last time.

In Dublin, the Film Centre and the Cameo are under serious threat of closure according to General Manager Ray Butler. Seamus Quinn of the Cameo Cinema in Cork and Alan Mahon of the Grand Central in Tullamore, say they are finding it difficult to get access to profitable films and as a result, their cinemas are suffering.

Almost all of the films shown in Irish cinemas are American or British productions. Distributors in Ireland act as the wholesalers of the cinema business. 

They rent films to the cinemas for us to see.

This episode of 'Public Account' was broadcast on 8 November 1983. The reporter is Gary Agnew.