Saturday 1 October 2016

OPW accused of not giving rural Ireland share of 1916 funding

Greg Harkin

Published 30/11/2015 | 02:30

Tour guide Paul Gibson with pupils from Kiltyclogher National School at the birthplace of Seán Mac Diarmada in Kiltyclogher, Co Leitrim
Tour guide Paul Gibson with pupils from Kiltyclogher National School at the birthplace of Seán Mac Diarmada in Kiltyclogher, Co Leitrim
Sean Mac Diarmada

The Government has defended spending most of a €22m capital funding on 2016 projects in Dublin, amid accusations that it has ignored the only intact homestead of one of the leaders of the Rising.

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The Office of Public Works (OPW) has been criticised for spending just €300,000 at the homestead of Seán Mac Diarmada in Co Leitrim, including €150,000 on developingt a car park, despite a plea for funding of more than twice that figure.

Mac Diarmada, a signatory of the Proclamation, was executed on May 2, 1916, in Kilmainham. His home in Kiltyclogher is the only intact homestead of any 1916 leader.

Campaigners in Leitrim say more money is being spent on Pádraig Pearse's holiday cottage in Ros Muc in Co Galway, "even though he hardly used it", than on the Mac Diarmada homestead.

All the other projects which have been awarded capital funding are in Dublin, including a state-of-the-art interpretative centre at the GPO, a tenement museum and renovation works at Kilmainham Courthouse.

"We welcome those projects but just feel that once again rural Ireland has been ignored and the memory of Seán Mac Diarmada could have been better served," said Kiltyclogher-based county councillor Seán McDermott.

He praised the OPW for its work so far at the Mac Diarmada homestead, but said more needed to be done.

"The total amount spent was €300,000, which is small in comparison to what was spent elsewhere," said Mr McDermott. "We needed €800,000 for all the works we wanted completed, including a heritage centre at the homestead, but this hasn't happened."

In a statement, the OPW defended its decision not to include Kiltyclogher as part of its major funding programme.

"In addition to the eight capital projects, the department has provided €150,000 in capital funding to develop a car park at the Seán Mac Diarmada homestead in Co Leitrim, so it is not true to say money has not been allocated to the homestead," said a spokesman.

Irish Independent

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