Wednesday 17 January 2018

Questions over public funds in €6.4m Mary Robinson Library

Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson

Alan O'Keeffe

An Oireachtas Committee is to seek information on the use of public funds in establishing the new Mary Robinson Presidential Library in her hometown at a cost of €6.4m.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently gave approval for the former president to receive a tax break worth €2m for donating her archive.

Traditionally, the papers of former presidents have been donated to UCD or Trinity College.

RTÉ 'Prime Time' delved into the funding of the Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co Mayo.

It reported on concerns expressed about the cost, location and the fact that papers of a former president will not be housed in an existing university archive.

NUI Galway is the academic partner for the new centre.

The Department of Arts and Heritage has given a grant of €2m and Mayo County Council has committed €1.5m.

The chairman of the Oireachtas Arts, Heritage, and Galetacht Committee, Peadar Tóibín, said questions needed to be asked of these bodies.

"I will be asking the committee for their backing to send a letter to those three groups so they will come before us and shed light on the process they are involved in. We just want to make sure that the money is spent properly," he said.

Irish Independent

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