Jackie Clarke Collection prominent feature of Ballina Easter Rising commemorations

Development reputed to have cost €17 million.

Sligo News File Online

What is known as the Jackie Clarke Collection is one of the main highlights of the Easter Rising commemorations in Ballina.

Clarke 1Described as “a treasure trove of Irish political and social history,” the more than 100,000 items include an original copy of the Proclamation and other material relating to the “revolutionary” history of the State. The collection, gifted to Mayo County Council by Clarke’s widow, Ann, is housed in a building at Pearse Street, purchased by the council in late 2000.

In an application for government aid, the Council stated at the time that the project required capital funding of €17 million. A breakdown of the estimated costs included €5 million for the purchase of properties; €5,930,00 for the refurbishment and fit-out of the Provincial Bank and Coach House as the centre to exhibit the collection; €1,620,000 for the refurbishment and fit-out of additional property and support services; €530,000 for the site Clarke Collection development works and garden refurbishment; €1,261,425 for VAT on capital works; €530,000 to cover miscellaneous costs and €1,955,000 for consultancy fees.

According to the Mayo News, the price sparked “a bitter war of words” when, at a meeting of the county council, a councillor criticised among other things, “a contract with the Clarke family.” The ‘paper reported that the member alleged the contract “ensured that €30,000 per annum over 30 years was paid” to a son of Jackie Clarke.

The collection is reckoned to be worth more than €15 million.

Responsibility for the management and upkeep of the facility is carried by the council.

New retail development.

The town meanwhile has been given a commercial uplift with the Lidlconstruction of a new Lidl retail development at Bohernasup. The German-owned company continues to operate at its other store in Bury Street. Car parking is free at both locations.  Dunnes Stores also lay on free car parking for customers.

Tesco has recently been granted planning permission for the construction of a major retail operation; it is scheduled to be erected on the company’s existing site at the Market Square.

However, there are fears about the impact it’s felt that large-scale commercial operations may have on smaller town centre outlets.

There has been a relatively little government or other investment in the manufacturing or service sector. The area, like so many other places throughout Mayo and the West, continues to be sapped by unemployment, migration, and emigration.

Up to the last general election, the town was represented by two resident Dail representatives, Michelle Mulhern of Fine Gael and Dara Calleary, the Fianna Fail party spokesman on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Calleary, who has been re-elected to the Dail, served as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in the last Fianna Fail-led government.