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Abbey Theatre hit with €1.8m losses

A major redundancy programme at one of the country's premier cultural venues last year resulted in the Abbey Theatre recording losses of €1.8m.

The deterioration in the finances of 'Abbey Theatre Amharclann Na Mainistreach' last year is confirmed in new accounts which show that after recording a modest surplus of €56,485 in 2008, the venue's losses to the end of December last totalled €1.8m.

The documents show that the theatre company's restructuring costs last year towards the redundancy programme amounted to €1.2m.

According to the company's directors, the restructuring involving the "major redundancy programme" in response to "the severe cuts" in Arts Council's grant aid funding to the Abbey declined by 28pc in the space of three years from €10m to €7.2m this year.

Abbey director of finance Declan Cantwell said yesterday that the restructuring involved 20 redundancies and an average pay-cut of 5pc across the organisation.

"It is been a very tough period for the Abbey Theatre. The staff have made huge sacrifices and the redundancies and the pay-cuts have been particularly painful."

Mr Cantwell said that most of the restructuring, which also includes more flexible work practices, is now complete.

The branch organiser of the Irish Equity group at SIPTU, Des Courtney, said yesterday: "We are pragmatic and the cuts that have been made have secured the jobs that remain; that is the most important thing".

Mr Courtney confirmed the pay-cuts at the Abbey -- where 151 were employed at the end of last year -- range from 11pc for those earning over €100,000 on a graded basis down to cuts of 1.5pc to those earning between €21,000 and €30,000.

Irish Independent