Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin is supporting a plan to transform Ballina’s former Garda Station and the adjoining Customs and Excise office into a regional cultural centre for Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the organisation that promotes traditional Irish music and culture around the world.
Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works, has indicated that he is very disposed towards the idea and to making the buildings available in principal for that purpose.
Minister Hayes TD met with a Comhaltas delegation, representing local Comhaltas branches and members of the Provincial Council, during a visit to Ballina to facilitate inspections of the two OPW buildings on Walsh Street.
The Minister was accompanied by Deputy Mulherin and local councillors, John O’Hara and Josie Egan.
Deputy Mulherin said: “The group put the idea of having a regional Comhaltas Cultural Centre located in these buildings in Ballina to the Minister. I am delighted to say he is very disposed towards the idea and to making the buildings available in principal for that purpose.
“No doubt a lot of work would be required to create such a cultural centre but it is a fantastic idea for these premises and would complement the existing Jackie Clarke Library up the street; our Theatre and Arts Centre on Barrett Street; and the proposed Mary Robinson Centre on the riverside which would surely make Ballina a cultural capital for the West of Ireland.
“I note that Comhaltas are to consider putting a formal proposal together for consideration by the Minister and I hope to see this progress further for which they have my support and I commend Comhaltas for their initiative and for their ever promotion of our traditional Irish culture and heritage,” Deputy Mulherin added.
Among the Comhaltas delegation present were Michael Brennan, Chairman, Provincial Council of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri; Helen Duggan, Secretary, Provincial Council; Padraic Egan, Chairman, Ballina Branch of Comhaltas and Vice Chairman of Connaught Council; Martin O’Maughan, PRO, Connaught Council; Michael Fleming, Chairman, Moy Valley Branch of Comhaltas; and Eamon Walsh, International Champion Piper and a native of Culleens, Ballina
Pictured above is Minister of State Brian Hayes TD in Ballina with a delegation from Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann to discuss the possibility of using the former Garda Station on Walsh Street as the location of an Irish music cultural centre. Minister Hayes is pictured outside the building with Deputy Mulherin and Cllr O’Hara along with members of Comhaltas.