The Trinity Arts Centre in Castlerea is in danger of closure because of high insurance premiums associated with it being a listed building, the group who run the facility has said.
In recent years, €700,000 was spent on transforming the building, originally Holy Trinity Church, from a poor state of repair to a modern arts venue. The official opening of the centre took place in December 2014.
However, Breege Callaghan, the chairperson of the Castlerea Community Arts Group (CCAG), has warned local councillors that, unless radical action is taken, the centre would no longer be viable and would be forced to close.
In a letter to councillors of the Roscommon Municipal District, Ms. Callaghan wrote: “Since we opened in December 2014, our insurance costs have increased from €1,400 to €3,095 in 2015.
“The protected-structures status new valuation has been the reason for this hike in price. The building is currently valued at €1.5 million.”
She said that the building had no “outstanding valuable artefacts” and should be removed from the list of protected structures. She said that when the CCAG took on the project, the building was not listed.
“We have a tight budget for this project,” Ms. Callaghan said.
“The spiraling costs of the insurance will leave us with no alternative but to abandon the building.”
There were differing views among councillors about whether the building should be ‘delisted’, however.
Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice, of Fianna Fáil, said: “I, for one, would be in favour of taking it off the protected-structure list. Basically, in Castlerea, they are nearly at the stage where they may have to close down.”
However, his party colleague Cllr. Orla Leyden disagreed. “If there is an issue with protected structures getting insurance, I would propose that a letter be written to the Minister for the Environment highlighting the issue because we want to maintain our protect structures in the county,” she said.
“They are assets in terms of our heritage and tourism.”
It was agreed that the matter be referred to the Council’s strategic policy committee for planning and that a letter be written to the Minister, as Cllr. Leyden had proposed.