McHugh announces €450,000 funding boost to Four County Donegal Arts and Culture Projects

-   Joe McHugh


  • €215, 753 approved for Lifford project
  • €164,785 approved for the Abbey, Ballyshannon
  • €46,420 approved for An Grianan, Letterkenny
  • €27,962 for the County Museum.


DONEGAL Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh has welcomed the announcement from Government colleague and Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys that FOUR projects in the county are to share in €450,000 worth of grants her Department.

The Minister will make the announcement later this morning (Monday) as part of the Creative Ireland programme, with funding provided under her Department’s Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018.

A total of 56 cultural organisations will benefit from this capital investment, including theatres, heritage centres, galleries, archives, integrated arts centres, artist studios and creative and performance spaces.

In Donegal approval of grant funding has been given to LATCH, Lifford, which runs the Old Courthouse project with a grant of €215,753 for a new lift and atrium stairwell.

The Abbey Arts and Cultural Centre in Ballyshannon has been given €164,785 for a series of works. These include monies to refurbish and upgrade the main threatre, theatres 2 and 3, reception area, the shop and kithchen areas and the green room; upgrade lighting, sound equipment, insulation, provide safe access over the stage and main auditorium, and purchase IT and projection equipment.

An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny is getting €46,420 for refurbishment and upgrade facilities to front of house and the auditorium.

And Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny has been awarded €27,962 to develop a multi-functional space, new furnishings and a technology update.

Speaking today MINISTER McHUGH said: “This will come as a very welcome announcement to artists and audiences who use all four facilities in County Donegal.

“This €9 million announcement being made by Minister Humphreys is the most significant investment in regional arts and cultural centres in a decade.

“Investing in infrastructure, like theatres and performance spaces, is critical for a vibrant arts and culture sector, which in turn underpins social cohesion and supports economic growth.  I am confident that this funding injection for The Abbey, LATCH in Lifford, An Grianán in Letterkenny and the County Museuym will help to grow local audiences and attract further people into Donegal.

“Creative Ireland, the Government’s ambitious new 5 year strategy, aims to place culture and creativity at the heart of every community nationwide. A vibrant cultural sector is essential to society and investment in local arts and cultural centres helps to facilitate access to and participation in the arts in communities nationwide.

“I wish to pay tribute to all those involved in the arts in Donegal. Over 85% of the funding is being provided to projects outside of Dublin. Putting arts and culture at the centre of rural life is a key element of the recently launched Action Plan for Rural Development.

“I would like to commend Minister Humphreys for prioritising investment in our regional arts and cultural facilities, and I look forward to work getting underway on projects in Donegal without delay.”





Cllr. Barry O’Neill – Deputy Chairperson of Donegal County Council has also welcomed the countywide funding for the cultural facilities but in particular for his hometown of Ballyshannon with the Abbey Arts Centre being granted €164,000 from Government.

Cllr. O’Neill said: “It’s fantastic news for the Abbey Arts Centre, for Ballyshannon but also for South Donegal as the facility was eight years ago designated as the Arts Centre for South Donegal.

“I must pay tribute to the Board of Management at the Abbey Arts Centre and its dedicated Manager for their continued commitment to the key arts facility in South Donegal.”

Cllr. O’Neill added: “The Abbey Arts Centre was owned by Ballyshannon Town Council and its former members for many years made many sacrifices to keep the doors open and indeed invested funding from its Town Commissioner resources. It is home to a vibrant arts scene in drama, music, dance and art with Theatres dedicated to the Late Rory Gallagher, the Late Patsy Croal and dedications also

to the Late Margaret McGinley and home of the Helen Allingham Gallery.

“This funding will be of immense benefit to a full refurbishment of the Abbey Arts Centre and will bring it on par with the best arts facilities in the Country when complete.”



Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh said: “As a director of the An Grianán theatre management company, I have been working along with Minister McHugh to impress on Minister Humphreys the importance of this capital funding application to the continued success and future development of the theatre in Letterkenny.

“And I am absolutely delighted that the Minister has awarded this grant, that will help to ensure that An Grianán remains to the fore, in the provision and development of arts, drama and music in the county and North West.”

Cllr.Kavanagh said the grant to the county museum was very welcome.

This is the biggest funding grant in a decade to the arts and proof that this Government is fully committed to supporting history and culture in County Donegal.”



Cllr Martin Harley said: “This is a massive funding boost to the work of LATCH in Lifford where the Old Courthouse has been turned into one of Donegal’s Top Visitor Attractions.

“I am very grateful to Ministers McHugh and Humphreys for this fantastic news.”



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