WATCH: Kilmainham Mill Needs Government Support


Full speech transcript:

I agree with many of the comments made by Deputy Verona Murphy. Having spent a week in Fethard-on-Sea a few years back, I concur that it is definitely an excellent holiday destination. I also agree that we should not be wasting money on tourism but should be spending it carefully and in the right way. There are many opportunities to pick the low-hanging fruit in order to significantly increase our tourism offering and the value of the current offering.

I want to talk to the Minister about Kilmainham Mill, a piece of our much undervalued industrial heritage located in Dublin city. The mill is located on the Camac River alongside the planned Camac River greenway. It is next to Kilmainham Gaol, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, IMMA, and the War Memorial Gardens. Providing support for the Kilmainham Mill restoration project and creating an industrial craft heritage site on the site would multiply the effect of all of the tourist offerings in this area. Praise has to go to the Save Kilmainham Mill campaign, which ensured the mill was bought by Dublin City Council instead of falling into dereliction and falling apart.

Efforts have been made to save Kilmainham Mill and keep it going to ensure there is an opportunity for its development as a tourism site. In recent months, the campaign has not been successful in securing funding and support. As I said, this project has strong potential to establish links with other tourist offerings and to support our industrial and craft heritage, which does not get the level of support it deserves. To be unapologetically parochial, I ask the Minister to visit the mill to see the potential it offers and the hard work of the Save Kilmainham Mill campaign. If she does come, I ask her to please bring her cheque book with her.

We need to embrace our industrial heritage, particularly in Dublin. We are not providing for it. We can talk about our built heritage, including industrial built heritage, being torn down and undervalued and about not placing it on the record of protected structures but that is a debate for another time.

Another project also desperately in need of support is a proper Dublin docklands museum. We have seen big changes to Dublin Port, with containerisation and automation. All of these developments have changed the nature of the work at the port. There is a group of Dublin dockers who celebrate the rich heritage the stevedores of Dublin Port have provided over the years. Any support for them would not only be very welcome but would again tap into an industrial heritage that is undervalued and under-supported.