Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin TD, and Pat “the Cope” Gallagher, Fianna Fáil TD, have urged the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs to intervene in a department decision to withdraw some funding for the Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair project.
The two TDs met yesterday morning, Wednesday, with Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Seán Kyne, TD, to express concerns about the decision, with both TDs later describing the meeting as positive.
They said the minister has agreed to speak with his officials about the project and will get back to them once he has established his position.
News of the decision to withdraw funding emerged on Tuesday, just two weeks after Gaoth Dobhair celebrated the reopening of the Gaeltacht theatre with a weekend of performances, including drama, music, song, comedy and dance.
Following yesterday’s meeting, Deputies Doherty and Gallagher issued a joint statement, saying they had “a very constructive and positive meeting” with the minister of state, where they “stressed the urgent need for him to intervene to resolve this dispute over funding for the amharclann project”.
The TDs said they made a very strong case that the issue cannot go unresolved, and highlighted concerns of the theatre committee, “whose members have each worked tirelessly to get this successful project completed”.
Deputies Gallagher and Doherty called the amharclann project a credit to the community, adding, “It’s crucial that everything is done to settle this dispute.”
The TDs said, “Both of us are of the view that it is now very much in everyone’s interest, including in the minister’s own interest, to find a resolution which will satisfy all sides in this disagreement, and we are hopeful that a way for ward can be found.”
The department last year allocated €485,000 to the €850,000 project. It is understood the decision to withdraw funding stemmed from a dispute over the time frame set down for completion of the work.
Actress Siobhan McKenna opened the amharclann in 1961, and the building was closed in 2007 for health and safety reasons.