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Ballinrobe Town Hall fundraising efforts launched


UP AND RUNNING Pictured at the launch of the fundraising campaign in aid of the new Ballinrobe Town Hall were, from left: Michael Burke and Rory O’Neill, Committee; Norita Clesham, South West Mayo Development Company; Michael Sweeney, Committee Chairman; Sean O’Connell, Treasurer and Trevor Burke, Flannerys Bistro.Pic: Trish Forde

Ciara Galvin

A LARGE attendance gathered on Wednesday to show their support for Ballinrobe’s fundraising campaign for a new Town Hall.
Members of the community and from local clubs and organisations gathered in Flannery’s Bistro to hear about the next step in bringing the new Town Hall to realisation. That next step being primarily the issue of fundraising a projected shortfall of €400,000 for the build.
Speaking at the launch, Chairman of the Town Hall committee, Michael Sweeney said the rebuilding of the Town Hall had been the topic of conversation for many years and is close to the heart of all in the community.
“It’s almost 20 years since the community lost the facility that for 110 years supported and nurtured all the social gatherings necessary for a community. This loss left a void in the community’s amenities but of more significance has been the cost to the community in general,” said Mr Sweeney.
Mr Sweeney went on to say that the project was not only important for its own sake, but it was also important for the town’s sake to make a ‘statement about itself’.
“As a community, we have this opportunity now to invest in our town for current and future generations. Let’s not miss it.”
Sweeney noted that the old town hall provided the space for the invention and reinvention of the musical society and that the current project has already inspired the formation of a drama group, The Wilde River Drama Group.
Part proceeds of their productions the first of which will be in October will be donated to the Town Hall fundraising campaign.
Sweeney acknowledged that though the project would require the community to ‘dig deep’, he cited various projects that showed community efforts had achieved a lot in the past, including the Racecourse, The Golf Club, The Town Park and The Harry Clark Windows.
Crunching the numbers
The project has been independently costed at €1.3million and from meetings with various public bodies, including Mayo County Council and South West Mayo Development Company, the committee estimate grant aid between €900,000 and €800,000, leaving €400,000 to be raised by the community.
Speaking to The Mayo News at the launch, treasurer Seán O’Connell said the committee had already received a lot of messages of support and personal promises to support the project.
“We now need to focus on crystalising those promises. The very positive response gives us confidence that the project has broad support,” said O’Connell.
According to O’Connell, the committee hope to successfully fundraise 75 percent of the €400,000 within 12 months.
“If we can successfully make that target I would be confident then to do fundraising events for the last €100,000.”
It is hoped the construction of the building, which will be home to a 430 seater theatre, will commence in 2017.
The brochure, which was unveiled at the launch outlines the means by which everyone within and outside the Ballinrobe community can contribute financially to enable the project to succeed. These brochures will be widely available in the town and for more information visit www.ballinrobetownhall.com.