NEW concerns have been raised about the continuing viability of west Tipperary’s premier arts and cultural centre, the Tipperary Excel.
The Excel includes the Simon Ryan Theatre, which regularly plays host to new theatre productions, a cinema, tourist information office, and a family history/genealogy research centre. The Excel is also popular with local schools, dance and music groups, and has a gallery which showcases local artistic talent.
Doubts about the financial viability of the Excel were raised at this month’s meeting of South Tipperary County Council. Cllr Denis Leahy said its “very survival” is under threat. Cllr Leahy said he had been approached by a member of the public regarding its future. “It’s a very important source of arts and culture, and it needs to continue in South Tipperary.” Cathaoirleach Cllr Michael Fitzgerald, said a meeting had been scheduled for 2.30pm on Monday, to discuss the issue.
Cllr Fitzgerald and others met with Mary Sarsfield, and Andy Lacey, two managers at the Excel. Cllr Fitzgerald later told the Tipperary Star that an independent consultant has been appointed to look at all aspects of the Excel’s operations, with a view to finding a solution to the centre’s financial problems.
“We met with the Board of Management of the Excel. The situation is serious enough, regarding keeping funding in place,” confirmed Cllr Fitzgerald. The County Council part funds the Excel, and other cultural institutions across the County. However, the Excel has found it difficult to maintain other streams of income, and is now facing severe financial problems. “The Council has agreed to put in an independent consultant to have a look at the whole situation, and to report back to the Council by June 1st,” said Cllr Fitzgerald.
The construction of the Excel was spearheaded by a community effort, with assistance from planning development levies collected by the County Council. The Council also part funds Bru Ború in Cashel, the Séan Kelly Centre in Carrick-on-Suir, and Duneske Sport and Leisure Centre in Cahir. These projects have attracted other sources of funding outside of Council support.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.