A MECHANIC threw a spanner into the opening of a €1.3m theatre when his noisy work threw the VIP event into chaos.
Senior management from the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick had to plead with Mick Daly (63) to down tools in his garage yesterday as the racket was drowning out speeches inside its redeveloped theatre.
Up to 100 guests, including many of Limerick's glitterati and prominent politicians, along with Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan, struggled to hear the proceedings as the din from a noisy air compressor reverberated throughout the building.
Speeches from Belltable Artistic Director Gerry Barnes and Limerick Mayor Jim Long could not be heard by the vast majority.
The garage is located at the rear of the redeveloped theatre with the entrance to the backstage area just a few feet from the workshop.
Mr Daly, who admits to being at the centre of a long-running dispute with theatre management, said he was only going about his work and did not intentionally disrupt the speeches.
"I didn't know the minister was here. I can't say anything about any of that. I'm working away as usual here," Mr Daly said.
The mechanic claims his business was greatly inconvenienced during the theatre renovations.
Mr Daly is no stranger to the spotlight. Last year, the Health and Safety Authority apologised and admitted it had over-reacted after asking him to remove calendars of topless models at his garage.
Complete with a new auditorium, the redeveloped Belltable Arts Centre has a capacity for 220 people.