No one or nothing should interfere with plans to develop the Connemara Cultural Centre at Pearse’s Cottage in Rosmuc, according to county councillors this week.
It was announced in October last year that the iconic cottage was chosen as the site for the cultural centre that will be the flagship project of Galway County’s strategy for the Decade of Commemorations 2013 to 2023.
At last Monday’s Galway County Council meeting, Cllr Seosamh Ó Cuaig (Ind ) noted that meetings have taken place in relation to Pearse’s Cottage between the stakeholders. He then expressed concern that the centre would not be built in time for the commorations.
In response, county manager Martina Maloney said there have been on-going meetings and work is being carried out on the EIS (environmental impact statement ) as well as “scoping”, because the site is next to a SAC (special area of conservation ). “Our ambition is for the work to be commenced before the commemoration opening ceremony,” she said.
However, not convinced by this Cllr Jimmy McClearn (FG ) said: “It is vitally important that this project is completed and ready. If we get a situation where the NPWS [National Parks and Wildlife Service] and other bodies interfere and hold this up, collectively we will have to make a stand. It would be a crime against the people if it is delayed and frustrated by agencies who can’t make decisions. It’s an iconic site and nobody or nothing should interfere.”
To this Ms Maloney replied: “We’re going through the legal process. There is no suggestion that it will be delayed.”
As part of County Galway’s commemoration plans a number of flagship projects were chosen, with Pearse’s Cottage at the forefront. According to the council’s strategy plan Pearse’s Cottage will serve to “highlight the outstanding natural beauty and distinctive landscape of Ireland’s west coast, in particular Connemara”, and provide a “hub for celebrating Irish as a unique contemporary living culture, while also providing an expanded interpretation on elements of Patrick Pearse, the linguist, educationalist, writer, and visitor.” It is envisaged that the centre will serve as a “cultural focal point of Connemara for both overseas and domestic visitors as well as the local community”, and “for visitors it will offer an authentic experience that links the Irish language and culture, the landscape and community, with the past and the present in a way that cannot be replicated elsewhere.” The centre will provide a physical platform with a full complement of services and facilities for visitors, offering social, educational, and cultural engagement and interaction between different groups. It will serve as “a place of learning, a place of listening, a place to experience the unique culture of the west, of Connemara and the Gaeltacht”.