Statement from the Committee in relation to the Wellington Rooms, Mount Pleasant, 27.11.2018
We are aware of course of the recent publicity about the premises in Mount Pleasant, occupied by the Liverpool Irish Centre from 1965 to 1997. It is not the first time that ideas and proposals have been discussed and have led to meetings and publicity in the last few years.
We reiterate the position we have adopted previously. We have worked hard to establish the Liverpool Irish Centre at Boundary Lane over the best part of two decades, during which time thousands of people have enjoyed a growing number of cultural activities: music, dance, language, Gaelic games and the rest.
We still hear comments such as people don’t know we're here; we thought the Irish centre was closed; it’s too far out of town.
We say in response that the Liverpool Irish Centre is the best place to experience Irish culture in Merseyside and indeed far beyond.
In that context our stance on Mount Pleasant is:
1 The Committee is committed to our Centre in Boundary Lane and no discussions will be allowed to become distractions from our present mission to provide a cultural centre fit for the Irish diaspora in this area.
2 These and previous discussions have not been initiated by the Committee of the Liverpool Irish Centre. With regard to the latest talks they have as we understand arisen out of a campaign ran by an external group. We have not been invited to enter into discussions as yet at and for the reasons set out below there is not a lot at this stage to discuss.
Our understanding is as follows:
There will need to be a significant investment of capital to make the premises fit for purpose. We have heard figures of £5-7 million.
Once opened the premises would need to generate very considerable income to sustain any business. Base costs to maintain the building have been estimated at £250k per annum. On top of this will be license fees, business rates, staff costs and much more.
We appreciate that bigger premises might lead to bigger business but anyone who has attended recent AGMs will appreciate that there is a significant differential.
As things stand we are yet to see any plan to raise the required capita, nor a plan to run the organisation. There has been no bid for funding. At most one might say there have been tentative discussions with potentially interested parties. The City Council is clearly very keen to see the building used but has openly stated it does not have the money. Its view seems to be that the premises would be suitable for a cultural centre of which Irish culture would form a part. There is no detail whatever as to how that might work.
And so for now the committee of the Liverpool Irish Centre adopts a neutral stance. We do not regard the campaign as competition but with respect to those who are involved we say that the campaign will not and cannot be a distraction to the hard work being done at our Centre. Everybody, regardless of background, is always welcome to enjoy the facilities we have to offer and the events we put on. Support is always most welcome.
Many thanks and best wishes
The Liverpool Irish Centre Committee