The re-opening of Ireland’s national Irish language theatre is vital for Galway’s cultural and artistic heritage and the Galway City Council must provide funding to make this happen.
This is the view of Green Party senator Niall Ó Brolcháin, who visited the theatre - which has been closed following a fire on the premises some time ago - with Labour Party president Michael D Higgins and Labour councillor Niall McNelis.
All are calling on the Galway City Council to support the theatre’s efforts to redevelop and re-open An Taibhdhearc in Middle Street, which was established in 1928 as Ireland’s national Irish language theatre.
Dep Higgins agreed and said “we simply cannot afford to lose the Taibhdhearc”. The Labour president and the five Labour councillors have all pledged to do what they can to support the re-opening and redevelopment of the theatre.
The refurbishment being proposed will provide a theatre that meets all the requirements on health and safety including disability according to Cllr McNeilis.
“It is very clear what a valuable space it is in terms of acoustic and line of sight. It is simply a very beautiful theatre,” he said “With a huge interest in the Irish language abroad, including universities such as Notre Dame, the refurbished theatre could be a valuable educational tool.”
Sen Ó Brolcháin said the Galway City Council must include the theatre in the Galway City Development Plan 2011 - 2017. He has also written to city manager Joe MacGrath requesting funding which would allow the theatre to re-open.
“It is a custom built venue and many local families have been involved with the theatre in some way,” he said. “It is vital to keep this tradition going and maintain the integrity of Middle Street as a cultural destination.”
According to Cllr McNeilis, the fire only damaged a small part of the theatre and most of it remains in good condition. As a result the funding sought is “modest in terms of giving a new lease of life to the theatre”.
He said: “This restoration project is worthy of support by all Galwegians and the institutions of state both local and national.”