An Taoiseach Enda Kenny this week confirmed that the cabinet had approved €2 millon for the proposed Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina. The centre which will be built in Victoria House in Ballina, Mary Robinson’s birthplace on the banks of the River Moy, will be Ireland’s first Presidential Archive. Mayo County Council had provided an initial €1.5 million package to purchase the house and included the site next door and the construction of a new annex on the site
Speaking about the project the Taoiseach said: “I am delighted Government is able to support this historic centre in Ballina. Run in academic partnership with NUIG the Centre is supported by the Ireland Funds as well as Mayo County Council. It will incorporate a museum, archive, research facility, educational centre and events venue. I consider that this new development will form part of a co-ordinated approach to Museums and facilities across the region including the National Museum of Country Life in Turlough, the Michael Davitt Museum in Straide, the Ceide Fields in North Mayo the Jackie Clarke Collection in Ballina, the potential of Moore Hall in Carnacon as well as the Douglas Hyde Centre in Frenchpark among others.
“Given that we approach the centenary year of 2016 each of these facilities will form part of a necklace of museums and important sites that are relevant to both those at home and visitors from abroad.The Mary Robinson Centre, the first of its kind in Ireland, will be an important addition to County Mayo.”
Ballina-based Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin also welcomed the news this week saying that, “The development of the Centre will have massive benefits for Ballina and the surrounding areas. Such is the recognition of her tremendous work internationally it will place us on the on the world stage as a centre for the promotion of human rights and of empowering women in leadership and climate justice.
“Such is the recognition and acclaim of her tremendous work internationally and the esteem she is held in it will truly put Ballina on the map and attract tourists and scholars alike.
“I would like to pay tribute to the work of Susan Heffernan, Mayo County Council, and the dedicated local committee who are working hard to fundraise which includes Mrs Robinson’s brother, Adrian Bourke, among others.”
The centre will house files relating to Mrs Robinson’s legal work, her presidential engagement sand her term as UN High Commissioner For Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. Mrs Robinson donated the documents which have been valued at around €2.5 million and they will be held in trust by Mayo County Council, with NUIG and the Mary Robinson Foundation running the research facility as a partnership.