A Cinema Worth Saving

 

Light House Cinema, Smithfield

By Barry Lennon

Lighthouse Foyer

The Light House is Dublin’s lesser spotted cinema. Hidden away in Smithfield’s Market Square it is only known to its loyal cinema-goers. The premises resembles an art gallery.

This is a suitable comparison considering it screens film of quality, championing the art of film. The cinema has not been spared from Ireland’s economic recession. The landlord’s intention to increase rent now threatens the film house’s future.  Despite this, a spokesperson for Light House urges,

“We’re keeping positive about the whole thing.”

However some of its customers are worried. A PR executive, Andrew, said that the closure of the cinema is inevitable.  Andrew, who regularly attended the cinema cited wider consumer problems as a cause.  “I used to go once a fortnight but I’ve had to cut back. I’ve just cancelled my credit card.”

“It’s a pity because it’s a cinema worth supporting,” said teacher, James Lynch.  Although several other cinemas show similar films, The Light House building possesses something unique.

Kate Reilly who works in retail, spoke about what The Lighthouse means to her:

“It’s a gorgeous building,  no where else has the same environment.  It sounds crazy [possible closure].  The landlord should be happy with his lease because he’s going to get nobody else to take it over.”

Sheri Adamson, a New York artist based in Dublin expressed the reaction of film makers should the cinema close. “I would be upset as smaller budget films will suffer.  It’s one of a few places that show non-Hollywood films.”

“Not many people go to the screenings,” she continued.  Outside, barely a dozen  walked through its doors within an hour.  Although not the current problem, the cinema has failed to attract numbers due to its obscure location.  To ensure this unique facility thrives, this issue will need to be addressed.

The Homeless Streets of Dublin

By Aislinn Mc Cooey and Cian Mc Kiernan

Homeless embrace on the streets of Dublin

Homelessness has always been a problem even with the economic boom and then bust that Ireland has experienced in the last ten years.

Dublin Simon Community have been looking to combat this for over 40 years.  According to the Simon Community’s last official count,  in 2005, there were 2,000 homeless people in Dublin city, a number which has increased in recent years due to the recession.

But it’s not only the Simon volunteers who think there is a problem with homelessness in Dublin, people on the streets also think this is a problem.

Seán Carroll (18) , a student from Tallaght, thinks there is a serious problem.

“You see more and more people around Templebar begging for change and sitting on the street.”

Janet Richardson (45) from Black Horse Avenue, feels the same.

“There’s a huge problem with homelessness. I work in a hospital and I have had many experiences with homeless people.”

When asked if she had ever had any eventful experiences working with homeless people, Mrs Richardson said

“Working in a hospital you get good and bad experiences but it all depends on the individual.”

There is somewhat of a stigma involved in giving money to homeless people but Mrs Richardson has a better solution.

“I’d much rather give them some soup and a sandwich than whatever change I have in my pocket because it would benefit them better and I wouldn’t know what they’re spending the money on.”

Mr Carroll also felt the same. “I’d prefer to donate money to the Simon Community or St. Vincent De Paul than hand over my coppers to one person.”

Both Mr Carroll and Mrs Richardson feel that homelessness in Dublin is a problem but can be helped by improving funding for support groups such as the Simon Community and improving social housing.

Mrs Richardson went on to say,

“There are quite a lot of empty buildings around at the moment. Surely they could put some funding into that to help out the homeless people.”

With the new government making promises about the eradication of homelessness, hopefully this problem will be tackled effectively.

Dylan Haskins Interview

A post election interview with Dylan Haskins

By Andrew Donovan

The  Election posters all over the city contained just one sentence below the image of the fresh-faced 23 year old student Dylan Haskins…“it starts here”. Some wag had written ‘puberty’ after ‘it starts here’, a homage to both the candidates youthful appearance and the grand  old Irish tradition of  begrudgery. Now weeks on from the General Election, having polled a respectable 1,200 votes, the former candidate is as busy as ever. Just before meeting with this reporter he had been visited by a woman who had asked him to organise an event in response to the earthquake in Japan. The woman herself was from Fukushima home to the  three damaged  nuclear plants. Her family are continuously being evacuated. She came to Dylan because he has a track record of getting projects off the ground most notably his election campaign and Exchange Dublin, an initiative he started while still in Secondary school. Dressed in a check shirt and a dark green Lyle and Scott cardigan he looks calm, laidback. The reality is that he’s doing his best to adjust from the 19 hour days of  the campaign. “You can’t live like that. It’s necessary during a short period of time like the election but if anything, it’s taught me how much you can fit into a day.” He has been fulfilling the roles of both Dylan public and Dylan private quite well all things considering. On one day last week he wrote an article for The Irish Times followed by an essay on obscure landscape painters from the 17th century. Not surprisingly, he says that he finds it difficult changing gears.

In a time in Ireland where economists and politicians are as famous as actors, Haskins now has to get used to being recognized on the streets..

“I was walking up Grafton Street and these two girls came up to me and said are you Dylan Haskins? I said yeah I am and one of them said the campaign was really inspiring and that her Dad was a politician. Apparently she went home and started having it out with him. So I asked her who her Dad was and she said Brian Lenihan (former Finance Minister). I thought the poor guy, he’s getting it in the media everyday, and now when he goes home he’s getting it as well.”

Dublin is a small place, and  Facebook Dublin is even smaller.  When Haskins first set up  Exchange two years ago,. friends of mine knew friends of his and naturally I befriended him on Facebook, without ever having spoken to, or seen him. His posts conveyed the impression of a man who was constantly active and seemed to have a great deal of fun in his job. One particular highlight was him proposing to Marina from ‘Marina and the Diamonds’ with a tinfoil wedding ring during his time as presenter with RTE 2. Still, the first sighting of his Election posters on the city’s Camden Street  came as a bit of a shock. But looking back at his Facebook persona, the more it seemed  to fit. “Anybody who knew me was not in any way surprised knowing the kind of trajectory and ideas that have motivated everything that I have done.” he agrees

His campaign embraced  social media and his website received 16,000 hits on the first day. The inevitable backlash came as Luddites everywhere rejoiced that Dylan Haskins couldn’t transfer  Facebook friends into votes. That critique still rankles.  TV current affairs host Vincent Browne asked Dylan why would he would  want to throw away his youth and his life on an election.  Spend some time in his company however and you begin to realize that a General Election campaign couldn’t have suited him more: Communicating ideas is what  Haskins  is all about, and while at times he does not seem uncomfortable being in the limelight, he doesn’t always like being at the helm.

“It really bugged me. For starters I don’t have more Facebook friends than votes, it’s more fans. It’s easier for someone to click ‘like’ than cast a vote and secondly the fans on Facebook might not even be in Dublin, let alone that constituency. So of course you are going to have more friends on Facebook than votes! It bugged me when you see things misrepresented like that.”

He feels the best way around that is to“do it for a year, get it off the ground, then move away. It’s a testament to the project [Exchange] that it’s still going.” Exchange is just one of a growing number of enterprises and organisations Dylan started. Basta Youth Collective was the first, set up in 2004 when Dylan was 16. There mission statement reads

“We are an autonomous youth lead collective working to improve the quality of life and facilities for young people and indeed the whole community in the areas we live and recreate. Our goal is to inspire, encourage and support individuals and groups wishing to improve our society. We do this through information exchange, discussion and debate, practical example and application, art, films and music to name but a few.”

Even at 16 he had lofty ambitions that have continued to the present day, all of which make his decision to stand for Election as an Independent candidate more understandeable. Basta Youth Collective is no more, but the sentiments that inspired it’s creation still ring true: “We didn’t find meaning going to the cinema in Dundrum Shopping Centre, we didn’t find meaning going to underage discos, we just felt ugh this sucks.”

He talks about empowerment a lot. It’s a common theme that he says runs throughout his projects. He is not doing these things purely for himself; it is always for a community, whether imagined or real.  The idea of the social space; how it can be used, how it should be used, forms a large part of his thinking.  He is a modern day Prometheus, except instead of stealing fire from the Gods, he is getting planning permissions and grant monies from Dublin City Council. Whether he has received a Prometheus style punishment as yet only he can answer but his time at Basta Youth Collective sounds arduous enough.  He learnt that collectives don’t function unless they’re hierarchical.  His decision to remove himself from Exchange after a year follows this pattern but still seems peculiar.  The concept of Exchange – a free all ages space to share ideas – is the same as Basta but five years older. The ideals of Basta are finally being realised but strangely Dylan is no longer part of it.

His ambition at 16 was to create a space for discourse, debate and discussion. A place for music, a place for youth. A venue contrasting dramatically from the usual hang-outs of middle class Dublin, the rugby discos  of Donnybrook and the multiplex cinemas of Dundrum. Somewhere more meaningful for young people.

Asked whether he would  consider returning to Exchange, he replies, “I don’t think so because by the time I had set it up, I haven’t needed what it provides. I have a platform and I probably had one before it started. It’s somewhere to present work. A lot of people can’t even get a space to do that. I know different places and I’ve managed to put on things regardless but I just thought that it was necessary for it to be there.”

His determination is frightening and his ideals are simple:

“You can’t say we should have this or we should have that, you just have to do it, you just have to create it and if it’s better then people will go to it. People go to that which gives them more meaning.”

We finish up and he has to dash for another meeting.  The Election has made him the most talked about 23 year old in the country. He’s achieved so much as a hitherto virtual  unknown. One can only imagine what he will achieve with his new found fame.   It starts here

Foreigners of Dublin

An insight into different aspects of foreigner’s life in Dublin during recession

By Mira Sobčáková

The term ‘Eastern European’ has become quite derogatory in Ireland over the last few years. Of course, not everyone identify themselves with this perception-in fact, quite the opposite.

Most of my friends from home, who have been living here for a while, still are strong patriots and have no problem expressing their national pride.  They like to decorate their suburban houses with all sorts of Slovak souvenirs, flags and symbols.  Some of them even subscribe to Slovak TV.

But I, for example, don’t often feel at ease when revealing my origins; especially to locals.  “Will I be accused of ‘taking Irish jobs’?”- I always wonder.

“Yes, in the shop where I work, I get that sort of attitude quite a lot.”- said Peter, who comes from the Czech Republic.

When I search Irish Google for the word Eastern–European; the first piece of information that comes up is on criminal gangs and related murders…not so good.  But I am starting to think that might explain the negative attitude we tend to get off of some people.

So, quite disappointed, but hopeful; I try ‘googling’ Slovak-Citizens-in-Dublin.  Maybe that will bring more positive results.   But all I get is a phone number and an address for the  Slovak Embassy, as well as a link to the ‘Irish Czech and Slovak Society’.  The last entry on their website is dated December 2007 though… Have most of us really gone home?

Dalibor (25)

It’s 2011 now, and it is said that almost every aspect of people’s day-to-day existence has undergone significant changes.  And it is partially true; some of my ‘Eastern European’ friends have indeed lost their jobs.  They consequently filled their Fiestas or Puntos with computers, books, CD’s; took their dogs and cats with them, and set off on the journey back home.

But, on the other hand, a lot of them are still living in Dublin- with no plans to leave anytime soon.  “I have been here for four years and would like to stay for at least another ten years.  I have a job and so does everyone I know.  Just one friend of mine went back to Slovakia, about a month ago, but that’s it;” says twenty-five-year old Dalibor.

Elena (28)

Elena, originally from Bulgaria, adds:  “Three of my friends have left the country; two of them went back home as they were missing their relatives. Only one moved to the UK because she lost her job here.”

So it seems as if the recession hasn’t affected all of us as severely as the media often present it.  Speaking from my own experience, people still can find work if they really want to.Dublin’s   Henry Street and Grafton Street are just as crowded on Thursday and Saturday afternoons, as before the burst of the ‘property bubble’ in 2007.  Babies are being born, houses are getting sold- life goes on; even among the ‘Eastern-Europeans’. We, having spent a long time in Ireland, have also gladly adopted the positive Irish attitude and just get on with things while hoping for a brighter future.