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Michael O'Doherty: Rick, don't bother to save a haven for arty bores

The Light House Cinema is facing closure, and much anger has been directed towards the landlord, who apparently doubled the annual rent to €200,000 recently.

While this seems like a shameless act of greed, how much did it actually contribute to the cinema's troubles?

An arthouse cinema, showing movies of very limited appeal in Smithfield, is hardly a great model for commercial success.


And this tiny haven for a few arty bores has already sucked up nearly €2m in taxpayers' money, courtesy of the legendary generosity of the Arts Council.

Inevitably, a campaign has been started to save it, the unlikely enough source being 2fm DJ Rick O'Shea, who immediately tweeted that "what's happening to the Light House is appalling. Let's do something".

Forgive my cynicism, but I'm not convinced that Cheesy Rick, hardly one of Ireland's foremost men of letters, is anything other than one of the vast majority of people who never paid to go to the Light House.

Which is where, of course, the true reason for its failure lies.

It's time for fat, vulgar millionaire Ben Dunne to stop acting the martyr

There's only one thing worse than a fat, vulgar millionaire who's had everything handed to him on a plate. And that's a fat, vulgar millionaire who's had everything handed to him on a plate, and still walks around with a cross on his back over something that happened 30 years ago.

The trauma that Ben Dunne went through in 1981, when he was kidnapped and held for six days by the IRA, is unimaginable. So when Ben was found 11 years later, ranting in his underpants on the 17th floor balcony of a Miami hotel, high on cocaine with a hooker by his side, we all felt sorry for him.


But trauma is not something you turn on and off like a tap. Many people suffer personal grief -- the loss of a loved one, a serious illness of physical handicap -- but are defined by the way they overcome it. Ben Dunne has revealed himself to be perfectly capable of running a business in the intervening years, so to play the trauma card now, 30 years later, beggars belief.

During his shambolic, ranting phone call to Joe Duffy's Liveline on Tuesday, Ben rubbished claims that he had used his friendship with Michael Lowry to get a rent increase on an office building he owned, which would have netted him an extra €9m.


"I phoned Lowry and asked him could he speed up the process (of the rent review). I never asked him to increase rents." Which is classic double-speak. The dogs in the street know that, 99pc of the time, a rent 'review' means a rent increase. Most ludicrously of all, Ben claimed: "My medical report clearly says that because of my drug abuse, and because of my mental state, that my memory couldn't be accurate". So having declared that he can't be expected to remember or account for anything he did in the 1990s because of the volume of coke he was shovelling up his nose, he proceeds to recall his exact conversation with Lowry.

Doesn't your heart bleed for Ben, who says: "It's a disgrace that Mr Moriarty, who knows that I suffer my own personal tortures, would chose to pick on me?" Ben inherited a fortune from the company his father founded, and proceeded to spend it on cocaine, hookers and vulgar betting sprees during rounds of golf, when thousands of euro would be bet on the outcome of a single shot.


And for someone who is riddled with "personal tortures", Ben is remarkably fond of his own profile. He's uses his 'man of the people' image to personally do the voiceovers to advertise his fitness clubs, even though doing this opens him up to ridicule. After all, can you imagine a worse advertisement for a gym than than the lardy 'big fella'?

And let's not forget, Ben was in charge of Dunnes Stores when they shamefully refused to back down, for over two years, in a strike by 12 of their employees over the company's policy of selling oranges from South Africa, which was at the time operating under racist apartheid laws.

I wonder how the 'Man of the People' defends that now? Actually, he doesn't need to. After all, Ben was strung out on coke for that whole decade, so obviously doesn't remember it...

If models can spot it, it's not a good con...

Gorgeous model Sarah McGovern was the victim of fraudsters this week, who hacked into her email account and sent messages to her friends, asking them to send money because she had lost her handbag in Malaysia.

Having got the account details, the conmen hoped to pocket the money themselves, but Sarah's friends disproved the model stereotype by having the brains to notice this was obviously a hoax.

After all, how could an Irish model possibly afford to go to Malaysia on her wages?

I've learnt my lesson... I won't slag a superhero

Ray D'Arcy and Mairead Farrell this week launched a charity campaign to get the most superheroes together in one place, and land another obscure Guinness Book of Records entry, with Ray dressed up as Superman and Mairead as Wonder Woman.

A rather rotund figure seems to have mis-heard his character, and come as Fatman.

But enough slagging, especially after my Flintstone-related Castleblaney incident last year. I've learned my lesson, and I'm staying out of it. This year, when it comes to commenting on these events, I'm the Invisible Man.