€2 mil­lion to get Bri­ery re­build­ing

WORK TO COM­MENCE IN EARLY 2020 ON RESTOR­ING BELOVED THE­ATRE AND LI­BRARY GUT­TED BY FIRE IN 2016

The Corkman - - FRONT PAGE - CON­CUB­HAR Ó LIATHÁIN

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.

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