Limerick councillor in call for art gallery at iconic church

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE chairman of City Council’s cultural committee, Michael Hourigan, has called for the newly-owned Sacred Heart building to be used as an art gallery.

THE chairman of City Council’s cultural committee, Michael Hourigan, has called for the newly-owned Sacred Heart building to be used as an art gallery.

Following their purchase of the structure for a cut-price €700,000, the Institute of Christ the King religious order indicated they will look to open the building to the public.

And Cllr Hourigan said that because the building is a protected structure, it means any changes would need the permission of city councillors.

“The church itself can have many uses: it can be a religious place, a place for an art gallery. I have seen a building in Cambridge which was converted from a Catholic church, and is now in community use,” the Fine Gael councillor said.

Southside Labour councillor Joe Leddin also welcomed the purchase of the building from the late Galway developer John O’Dolan, who had plans to open a leisure centre and bar on site.

“It is an iconic building, so I am delighted it has been purchased I am glad it will continue in terms of a religious context,” he said.

Referring to previous plans for its development, he added: “There were many hare-brained ideas in terms of turning it into a nightclub. Those plans never saw the light of day, so now it will return to its roots.”

The building is to reopen this Saturday for the first time since a festival in 2009.

Cllr Leddin says it is a major step forward to “recreate a living city.”