The possibility of a 'significant' portion of the Mary Robinson Archive being housed in Ballina is something that is still alive, and if there is support for that it is something Mayo County Council will discuss with NUIG, the chief executive of Mayo County Council said this week.
The issue of the future of the centre was raised by Ballina based independent councillor Gerry Ginty at Monday's January meeting of Mayo County Council, where Cllr Ginty expressed his displeasure with finding out that the archive was going to be gifted to NUIG rather than to Mayo County Council through third hand information from someone who had heard it on the radio.
Cllr Ginty said: "Things like this should not come to me as a councillor who has been involved in supporting this project, to have to hear it third hand from someone who heard it on the radio. I think we have to be very careful and the council has to be very careful on what it's doing, and where it's doing it, and what amount of public money is spent, and people out there are asking a lot of questions at this stage and they are going to be demanding answers, they don't want to be presented with a fait-accompli on it."
His fellow Independent Ballina area colleague Cllr Seamus Weir added: "The people want to know and we're not sure what the story is, the archives were supposed to come to Ballina, if the archives go to Galway the whole nexus of the project is going." Peter Hynes, chief executive of Mayo County Council, responded: "I don't want to say anything that would jeopardise or complicate the situation any more than it already is. The question of where an archive is gifted to is down to the person who owns the archive at the end of the day, and it's not ours to say how they tell people and how they don't unfortunately.
"In terms of what can be located in Ballina, there is a discussion to be had with NUIG and it is possible that a significent portion of the archive could still be located in Ballina, I can't say that for sure and I don't want to push us too far down that road until we get a sense of what support there is for that approach. If there is, fair enough we'll push and see how far it goes. We will have to see how things go over the next few months, we've given to the end of the first quarter to reach some kind of conclusion on it and if it can be resurrected for the town and bring econmoic benefit to the town then it is still a worthwhile project."