A local TD has called on the City Council to create a civic space in Galway where important events can be held.
Éamon Ó Cuív called on the Council to begin negotiations with AIB, with a view to acquire Lynch’s Castle as a civic building for Galway; as a venue for receptions or other civic events.
Deputy Ó Cuív said: ”The thing that Galway is missing, is a prestigious civic space in your city council ownership for such events, and that can also be hired out to other appropriate community events, charitable groups and such. We need a space for occasions such as Conferrings of the freedom of the city on notable people, receiving winning Galway teams, and other famous sports people and also to hold civic receptions when prestigious conferences come to Galway.”
He lamented that Dublin has Dublin Castle and the Royal Hospital, and other privately or state-owned prestigious venues, but Galway does not have anything similar.
Lynch’s Castle is on the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street in the city centre and parts of the building are estimated to date back to the 14th century.
The Lynchs were one of the original 14 merchant tribes that ruled Galway in medieval times, making the building a site of great historical value.
It is the only complete secular medieval building left standing in Galway, and the oldest building still in commercial use in Ireland.
Deputy Ó Cuív emphasised the potential of the building, and how “bizarre and wasted it is as a mundane bank”.
He mentioned going abroad for important political events and there usually being a civic reception on the first night in such a venue before the official meeting the following day.
Deputy Ó Cuív stated: ”It is very urgent to hold negotiations now while the state still has a majority shareholding in the AIB, before access to this important building is lost.”
Business tourists worth up to three times as much as a leisure tourist
With the Galway Convention Bureau declaring last month that a business visitor is worth up to three times that of a leisure visitor, it shows how beneficial a city centre venue would be.
Business visitors tend to stay around the city, bringing in income for local businesses, while tourists head out to surrounding areas for sightseeing.
Deputy Ó Cuív mentioned himself never leaving the cities on business trips and not going beyond the main streets. “We wouldn’t travel, because we were [there for] business, we were in a hurry, we had a council meeting and the night before a dinner, a reception, and by evening time we’d be back on a plane on the way home because that’s the way politics and business works. You wouldn’t have gone sightseeing, but you would have gone to town and bought something, spent some money.
“It is a shame that a building, with such a rich history, just sits there useless for the people of Galway, when it has so much potential, that would be so easy to harness. If Galway wishes to hold important events and invite important people, on the same level of some of the other major cities, it needs to provide the spaces to do so,” he stressed.
Galway City Council have not responded to Galway Pulse’s requests for comment at the time of publication.
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