THE future of Dublin's Temple Bar Music Centre and its 60 employees hangs in the balance this weekend following the launch of legal proceedings over rent arrears, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

The famous venue, now known as the Button Factory, contacted the board of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT), which has taken the action in an attempt to delay the legal process and reach a compromise.

In a letter to the trust, signed by management and staff members, the trust was reminded of the €1.7m investment they had made to "turn the building into a world-class music venue, training facilities and rehearsal studios".

"We are now asking you to refrain from legal proceedings and allow us both the time to resolve this situation," it said.

"The rent agreed back in 2007 was done so at the height of the economic boom, a much different time to now."

It is the latest stand-off to occur in Dublin in relation to rental values and businesses claiming an inability to meet high prices in the midst of recession.

The fate of the music centre and its staff remains unclear although sources close to the proceedings say that jobs may now be under threat.

"You cannot reasonably expect to get €225,000 from the Temple Bar Music Centre when the funds are just not there," the letter states. "Over €2m has been paid in rent to you… to our knowledge you have not spent any monies on the property since it was built."

Management outline that hundreds of people are indirectly employed by the centre, which fulfils its cultural remit in fostering Irish talent.

The move has led to criticisms that the trust is essentially acting as a high-handed property company as opposed to a cultural organisation. The TBCT could not comment in light of the legal proceedings.

The music centre said it felt it had offered a reasonable plan last April on how to meet its debts over a three-year period.

It is understood that a reduced rental agreement was tenuously agreed on the condition that the centre gives a good will advance payment of €50,000, something it was unable to do.