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17/10/2021

Future of Russborough House still in doubt warns South Kildare Deputy - as Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys leaves the stately home to "cannabilise itself" from financial ruin.

Russ house
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts and Culture, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD has warned the future of Russborough House is still in doubt after raising the matter in the Dáil recently. Deputy Ó Fearghaíl pointed out, that despite an initial breakthrough last summer, Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys has failed to advance a long term plan to secure the future of the house. “There was a short lived reprieve for Russborough House when it was announced last June that the trustees had abandoned the controversial proposal to sell a unique collection of paintings to individuals outside the state to help fund maintenance work" said the Kildare based deputy. "At the time, it was hoped that Minister Humphreys would use this opportunity to secure a long term plan for the house; however it is becoming more apparent that she has failed to deliver this,” he added. Deputy O'Fearghail stressed Russborough House is facing serious funding issues despite its popularity as a visitor centre located near the Kildare/West Wicklow border. "Persons have come forward who are willing to purchase the paintings and donate them to the National Gallery. This would ensure that they remain in the ownership of the Irish people, but this plan is only viable on condition that 100 per cent tax relief can be introduced on a one-off basis to allow the sale of the paintings proceed". This solution is the best option the deputy felt to resolve the dire financial situation at the historic house and grounds. “However when I raised this issue with Minister Humphreys in the Dáil today she confirmed that she was unable to secure a commitment from Minister Noonan for the introduction of 100 per cent tax relief on a one-off basis". “In effect Minister Humphreys is expecting Russborough House to cannibalise itself in order to sustain the house into the future...  and clearly shows that the Minister either does not know what is needed to safeguard the future of Russborough, or is unwilling to push Minister Noonan on the tax relief matter".

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