Tuesday 18 June 2019

'Sligo On Ice' hopes to return to town for the 2019 season

Sligo On Ice barn in Stephen Street Car Park last year. Pic: Sligo On Ice
Sligo On Ice barn in Stephen Street Car Park last year. Pic: Sligo On Ice

Sorcha Crowley

'Sligo On Ice' will not be operating an ice rink in Sligo town centre this Christmas after the business people behind the venture failed to secure funding from Sligo BID.

Eddie Mulrooney and Michelle Doherty, the couple who ran 'Sligo On Ice' for the past two years, put up a video on Facebook Sunday night claiming they couldn't secure either funding or a venue for their rink this year.

Sligo BID spent ¤25,000 on three events within the car park last year - 'The Haunted Barn', 'Sligo On Ice' (both operated by Eddie Mulrooney) and Sligo Gin and Craft Beer Festival - to demonstrate the venue could work as a cultural plaza.

However this year they have decided to invest in more Christmas lights for Sligo town instead.

"We supported them last year, we made a substantial investment. We did very little Christmas lights-wise last year so this year we want to put it into Christmas lights and lighting up Sligo," said Chairman of Sligo BID, Finbarr Filan.

"It wasn't going to be funded on an ongoing basis. We're not putting anything in there this year. We're putting more investment into Christmas lights. There's still a lot of streets in Sligo that don't get Christmas lights so we're looking at lighting up Sligo," he said.

Filan said the reason Sligo BID funded Sligo On Ice last year was to "demonstrate that the Stephen Street car park could work as a cultural plaza" and they were "delighted" to see that concept is moving ahead in future plans for the area.

He said that Sligo BID was "fully aware" that Sligo On Ice would not be operating this year but said they were "abreast of Eddie's plans for next year."

"It's an innovative solution. We think it will work. We hope that Eddie Mulrooney's idea to bring 'Sligo On Ice' back to Sligo will be a runner next year," he said.

Filan declined to confirm if Sligo BID would fund the venture next year, only saying "we'll look at it when the time comes."

Speaking to The Sligo Champion, 'Sligo On Ice' operator Eddie Mulrooney said: "Sligo BID were great last year. We broke even the first year but last year we made a loss due to Castlebar, we were competing with their rink. That pushed us over the edge. It cost us ¤2,000 a week in insurance to run the rink."

"We're devastated. Without funding or something dramatic happening within the next 24 hours, it's unviable," he said.

Mulrooney said he has plans to buy their own barn and rink outright for next year, if they secure funding from Sligo Leader and Sligo BID.

Then it will only be a matter of securing a venue for 'Sligo On Ice' 2019.

"We have plans for next year. Come the New Year we'll be putting a new business plan together and hopefully getting funded by Sligo Leader and Sligo BID," he added.

Sligo Champion