Cinema goers voice support for Iveagh

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The Banbridge public have rallied to defend the Iveagh Cinema, which is facing the prospect of closure after planning permission was granted for a new cinema at The Outlet.

Cinema manager Giles Conlon said the cinema would need the support of the community if it was to have a fighting chance against the Omniplex chain.

And people in Banbridge were certainly quick to voice their support for the long established local business.

Writing on the Banbridge Leader’s Facebook page, Simon Cooke said: “Super little cinema, very convenient in town and reasonable prices.”

Mary Hook wrote: “Me and my boys love the Iveagh Cinema.

“Wouldn’t go anywhere else. Save our cinema!!!!!”

Leanne Adair agreed that her family loved the Banbridge cinema.

The Adair family also visit the theatre in the Iveagh Movie Studios, which recently hosted this year’s panto by Banbridge Musical Society ‘Mother Goose’.

“My daughter and I go to the pantos in it and go to the cinema too,” she said.

“My daughter is three and I would be very sad if it closes.

“We love the panto very much and it would be heartbreaking if this closed as it not easy to go to Belfast all the time and we love the family atmosphere with the panto and the ones that run it.”

Steven Barr added: “Why on earth do we need an Omniplex on the outskirts of Banbridge when we’ve got a great cinema on our doorstep?”

Cinema manager Giles Conlon thanked everyone for their words of support and encouragement. “Thank you everyone,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to know we have the support of many good people.”

Last week, Mr Conlon told the Leader: ““Two cinemas will not survive in a town the size of Banbridge.

“We know the Omniplex can run at a loss until we have to close our doors.

“We are going to lose jobs and business is going to be taken outside the town.

“We will be putting 100% effort into staying open and providing the best service for our customers.

“We have invested in full digital cinema upgrades in line with industry standards but we can only keep upgrading if we have the support of the community.”

Two weeks ago the Planning Service granted permission for a new cinema at The Outlet, which will be run by Omniplex, a chain with cinemas throughout Ireland, including branches in Lisburn and Antrim, with another on the way for Craigavon.

As well as an eight screen cinema, permission was also granted for restaurants, a children’s playzone, and a garden centre at The Outlet.