€2 million to get Briery rebuilding
WORK TO COMMENCE IN EARLY 2020 ON RESTORING BELOVED THEATRE AND LIBRARY GUTTED BY FIRE IN 2016
WORK is likely to commence early in the new year on rebuilding Macroom’s fire-gutted Briery Gap Theatre following the announcement yesterday of €2m in Government funding to make up the shortfall in the €5m project.
The long anticipated funding for the Briery Gap, which was badly fire damaged in 2016, was included in an announcement of over €62m in rural regeneration funding for 60 projects throughout Ireland by Rural Development Minister Michael Ring.
Macroom-based Agriculture Minister Michael Creed TD welcomed the funding and paid tribute to the tireless work of the staff and management committee who have worked with Government and Cork County Council to try and get the facility back on its feet again.
The project is expected to be put out to tender before Christmas and work on site is anticipated early in 2020, in April or May.
WORK is likely to commence on site at Macroom’s fire damaged Briery Gap Theatre in the second quarter of next year after €2m additional government funding was announced yesterday for the project by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed.
The long-anticipated announcement of the additional €2m funding means that there’s now a total of approximately €5m available for the rebuilding project.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed was first to welcome the funding allocation.
“There was tremendous sadness in the Macroom area in the immediate aftermath of the fire that severely damaged The Briery Gap theatre a number of years ago,” said Minister Creed.
“Since then, the staff and management committee of the theatre have worked tirelessly with Government and the Cork County Council to try and get the facility back on its feet again. This funding will now facilitate the significant upgrade works to the theatre,” said Minister Creed.
“This news will come as a real boost to all associated with the Briery Gap and the wider community who truly value this important facility.”
Local councillors Ted Lucey and Eileen Lynch welcomed the news also.
“It’s been a hobby with me you could say,” said Cllr Lucey. “I’ve been raising motions about it for years.
“It’s great that the money has finally come through and I’m looking forward to work starting on site.”
According to Cllr Eileen Lynch, the Briery Gap funding was among 36 projects nationwide which were allocated a total of €62m from the Rural Regeneration Fund.
“The Briery Gap is a vital cultural and artistic hub in the town and one which has been sorely missed since it was burned down three years ago.”
The filling of the shortfall was described as essential by Aindrias Moynihan when welcoming the announcement which will allow the council continue with its ambitious plans.
The total project costs estimated for the project is north of €5m and it is envisaged the new Briery Gap Theatre and Library will incorporate three floors with a fully accessible entrance for disabled patrons.
The €2m announced yesterday will be added to €600,000 which came from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. That came on top of an insurance payout and a further €2m from Cork County Council.
The new design will provide for better library facilities and access, increased theatre seating capacity, increased bar area and universal access to both auditorium seating levels and better front of house and theatre user facilities.’
Adequate dressing room and rehearsal facilities to the back of the house, as well as adequate stage access and appropriate and safe access to lighting bars and rigs will also be incorporated into the new design.
The building’s purpose will remain the same as before, with the public library on the ground floor and a 220-person capacity theatre above, with supporting spaces and adjacent services.
When the initial designs were unveiled in February some of the submissions to the public consultation did point out that the proposed new development wouldn’t retain the old facade and it was described as ‘ugly and tasteless’ .
This was countered by the senior planner at Cork County Council, Niall Ó Donnabháin who said that the ‘rhythm, form, height and design of the surrounding streetscape is such that a building of this nature and scale, given the high quality of design and materials proposed, will make a positive impact and introduce a contemporary reference that should be supported.
An artist’s impression of how the redeveloped Briery Gap will look when completed.