The construction of Ballina’s Mary Robinson Centre is expected to recommence next month with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
The development of the multi-million Euro centre, which will be Ireland’s first presidential library, had reached an advanced stage last Christmas when Level 5 restrictions were imposed prohibiting all building work.
Plans have continued apace in the interim with international design team Haley Sharpe Design working in collaboration with former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, Mayo County Council, NUI Galway’s archive team and the board of the Victoria House Foundation to develop a striking and impactful design and interpretation plan for the centre that honours the life’s work of Ballina-born woman, Mary Robinson (nee Bourke) through scholarly research and education in her many fields of work.
The Mary Robinson Centre will be a centre for change, dedicated to inspiring locals, visitors, students and academics – through exhibits and installations and material from the former President’s impressive archive – to engage with the issues of human rights, gender equality and climate justice.
The centre’s potential to effect such change is already evident in Ballina where locals pledged to work towards building a greener, more sustainable future for the town and generations to come at the 2020 Mary Robinson Centre International Human Rights Lecture which saw International Executive Director of Greenpeace International and Secretary General of Amnesty International Kumi Naidoo discuss the rising challenge of climate change facing the world today and into the future.
As the opening of the centre to scholars and the public now looms into sight, plans are forming for local activities and events for those eager to engage with today’s pressing societal issues and to inspire them to action at the childhood home of Ireland’s first female President, in a town that pledges to be Ireland’s greenest by 2025.