Nothing has changed regarding Westmeath County Council’s support of Belvedere House and Gardens, according to a statement by the council reacting to rumours that the attraction’s future was under threat.
Last weekend a page entitled ‘Save Belvedere’ made an appearance on Facebook, but was taken down within days.
In a response posted on their website, Westmeath County Council implied that staffing issues at the popular attraction were behind the setting up of the page, and reminded members of the public that it has allocated €275,000 to Belvedere for the coming year.
“The internal staff matters of any organisation should remain internal and have no place on Facebook or any other social media or public platform,” said the council, adding it was “disappointed with this misguided and misleading page”.
It emphasised that there is no threat to one of Westmeath’s most popular attractions.
“In the interests of clarity, there is no threat to Belvedere House and Gardens which Westmeath County Council continues to promote as a pre-eminent element of this county’s tourism offer. In this context, it will again provide €275,000 by way of annual subvention in 2013. Westmeath County Council will not be commenting further on this page, save to again reiterate that there is no threat to Belvedere House and the issue of its closure has never been considered,” read the statement.
Commenting on the controversy, Cllr Ken Glynn, who posted the council’s response on the Facebook page before its closure, reiterated that the council is continuing to support and promote Belvedere.
“Councillors would have to vote on it if we were to stop supporting it [in the budget],” he pointed out.
Westmeath County Council’s budget for 2013 estimated that the running of Belvedere House and Gardens will cost almost €599,000, taking in €329,600, with the council to foot the €269,000 difference.
Activities planned for Belvedere in 2013 include National Tree Week in March, St Patrick’s Day events, Easter egg hunt, Mullingar Road League, Scruffs Dog Show, the Mullingar Left Hand Festival, as well as birdwatch events, bat walks, and guided tree walks.
Life Festival is also expected to return to Belvedere in May.