KINSALE’S arts community has launched a campaign to help save a historic buliding in the town which they fear may be sold by the County Council.
A large meeting in the town last week heard calls for the Council to renovate the building which has staged theatre performances since the 19th century.
The town’s Municipal Hall has hosted plays and arts reviews since the 1880s.
In fact, it staged theatre and drama performances more than 20 years before the Abbey Theatre opened its doors in Dublin.
The recently-formed Kinsale Municipal Hall Revival Group wants the building used as a permanent home at the Municipal Hall in the heritage town.
It has been closed to the performing arts since 2009, over what is believed be to a number of health and safety concerns, and now locals fear it might be shortly put up for sale.
Last week’s meeting was jointly organised by Cal Duggan of Rampart Players and Fiona McGeown of Painted Bird Productions.
‘Having received assurances at the meeting from Cllr Gillian Coughlan and Cllr Kevin Murphy that they will do their utmost to secure the venue for the arts community, as well as ensure that the local authority retains ownership of the property, Kinsale Municipal Hall Revival is set to lead a delegation to the next meeting of the Bandon/Kinsale Municipal area to discuss the matter,’ said Fiona.
She added that it was ‘abundantly clear’ from the large attendance at Wednesday night’s public meeting, just how much this building means to the local community.
‘We appreciate Cllrs Coughlan and Murphy’s attendance and their continued support in putting our proposed motion forward before the Council chamber,’ she said.
‘We have sought clarity on a number of issues and we look forward to taking the next steps towards making this space an arts and cultural hub for the entire community.’
Cllr Kevin Murphy told The Southern Star that Kinsale Municipal Hall will not be sold and will remain in Council ownership.
‘We are totally supportive of the Municipal Hall being vacated and work beginning but we’re talking about mega bucks here and finance is a major problem,’ he said.
‘Also there are major infrastructural works needed in a number of other buildings too in Kinsale, so it won’t be a short term plan as such, plus the staff would also need to be accommodated if work were to begin on the Municipal Hall,’ said Cllr Murphy.