A dedicated voluntary committee in Ballinrobe has launched an ambitious new plan to develop a €1.5 million state-of-the-art town hall facility for the town, complete with a 408-seat auditorium.
The community’s former town hall, constructed in 1886 at the corner of the Cornmarket, fell into disrepair in the 1990s and was eventually demolished in 1999 for safety reasons.
Ballinrobe has been without a proper town hall facility since then.
The Ballinrobe Town Hall Committee unveiled their plans to right that situation this week in a Ballinrobe Town Hall prospectus document circulated to the community.
While the final design and costings are still being worked out, the prospectus outlines a proposed €1.5 million facility with a 408-seat auditorium and seven separate spaces where events can take place at the same time to facilitate the many different groups and clubs who will use the town hall.
The planned auditorium will provide Ballinrobe’s many successful drama and theatre groups, including the multi-award winning Ballinrobe Musical Society, with a proper rehearsal and performance venue.
The committee has held a number of public meetings to identify the needs within the community and have already met with public representatives and potential funders, including An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mayo county manager Peter Hynes, and representatives of South West Mayo Development Company, who are responsible for administering the LEADER funding programme.
“We were very happy with the genuine interest shown by the public representatives we met,” said Michael Sweeney, Ballinrobe Town Hall Committee chairman.
“There seems to be a very real feeling that Ballinrobe needs and deserves a town hall and I think we will get good support for the project.”
However, Mr Sweeney said the project will not be without its challenges.
“The reality is that public funding is not as readily available as was once the case,” he said. “The reduction in LEADER funding for Mayo is a significant factor. But we will be in there fighting our case as best we can.”