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Tuesday, 14th May 2024

McQuillan demands funding for Drogheda Museum on a par with Dundalk

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Independent Councillor Paddy McQuillan at Millmount.

Independent Councillor Paddy McQuillan has asked Louth County Council why it continues to fund the museum in Dundalk while at the same time Drogheda’s Museum at Millmount is being run on a shoestring by a volunteer committee who must rely on its own resources and the support of a CE scheme.

The simple question asked by Cllr McQuillan at yesterday’s Borough District of Drogheda meeting reads as follows:

“We have two major museums in the county, Drogheda Museum and the County Museum in Dundalk. What funding does the Council give each museum? Is there direct funding towards staff salaries, or funding for gas and utilities, insurance, maintenance or advertising? Is there a set of accounts for both museums?”

He was shocked by the tone of the written response he received from the Council’s Director of Services, Social Development, Ger Murphy who said:

“Louth County Council operates one museum, the County Museum in Dundalk for which operating costs are outlined and provided for in the Annual Budget 2024. The museum located in Drogheda is operated by the Old Drogheda Society.”

In a statement issued after the meeting Cllr. McQuillan said that when the committee of the much-admired museum in Drogheda, which is running at a loss, surviving on its own resources and the support of a CE scheme, go looking for funding from the various government minister’s offices, they are always directed straight back to Louth County Council.

Drogheda Corporation and Drogheda Borough Council both gave an annual stipend of €10,000 per year to Drogheda Museum Millmount but that stopped when Drogheda lost the Borough Council in 2014. The museum in Drogheda received similar funding but, unlike Drogheda, that funding continues to this day.

“The decision to fund one museum and not the other should never have been allowed to happen. That is unfair” McQuillan said. “Why has one museum benefitted from hundreds of thousands of Euro while the other has been ignored? he asked.

“The Drogheda Museum cannot continue to rely on volunteers and CE staff to run it. The museum needs a professional full-time curator, a managing director, and a general manager in place.

“With full time professionals in place the museum can apply for state funding to upgrade the premises, carry out much needed work on the historical Buttergate and make Millmount the focal point of our heritage tourism.

“We are selling Drogheda as a heritage destination town, but the council are not funding our heritage when it comes to our museum. This has to change.

“I am asking for the necessary professional staff positions to be created to allow Drogheda Museum to thrive and be a pillar of local tourism.”

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