Mayo's Admiral Brown museum closes due to lack of funding
REGRET has been expressed at the closure of the Admiral Brown Memorial Museum in Foxford.
The closure - due to lack of funding - has been met with dismay both locally and in Argentina, where close links have been forged over many years through the work of the Admiral William Brown Society.
Admiral Brown founded the Argentine Navy and one group there - the Asociación Argentino Irlandesa - has appealed to the Irish and Argentine authorities to come up with a solution.
Over the weekend, the Foxford-based Admiral William Brown Society explained how funding has been an issue in keeping the centre open, but they hope it can be reviewed with support.
In a social media post, they explained: 'It was with a great deal of frustration and sadness that the Admiral Brown Society were forced to close the Admiral Brown Memorial Museum in his birthplace recently.
'The reasons for the closure was two fold. The building had deteriorated to an unacceptable condition in terms of building standards and health and safety. The cost involved in bringing the building to acceptable building norms were enormous and not within the resources available to the society.
'All the artefacts that we hold in trust for the people of Foxford, as many were donations and loans, have been carefully documented and stored. In this regard, we thank the members of Foxford Resources for assisting us in acquiring space for this purpose.
'We readily acknowledge and lament that we have found ourselves in this position. We hope to work closely with our many good friends and supporters locally and beyond, including Councillor Neil Cruise, Mayo County Council, the Argentine Navy, the Argentine Embassy, the Brown Institute, etc., in the hope that this unfortunate situation can be reviewed.
'It is vital that our town's unique connection to Argentina is not alone maintained, but significantly enhanced.
'The late J.J. O’Hara and the members of the Admiral Brown Society, in association with Mayo County Council and the civic authorities in Ardrogue, Argentina, organised that County Mayo and Ardrogue were twinned in the past. Therefore there are huge historical, cultural, naval and tourism connections to be considered.
'The Argentine Navy and the Irish Naval Service have been and continues to be very supportive of our efforts. The town was delighted to host Captain Juan Carlos Romay, and 200 Officers and crew of the ARA Libertad, the Argentine Navy’s tallship training vessel, in the recent past.
'We thank Mayo County Council for their wonderful support in the past and we look forward to working closely with them again now.
'We are willing to sit down with any and all agencies in an effort to evaluate our options going forward.
'We continue to promote the life of Admiral William Brown and also welcome all our visitors to Foxford, including our many Argentine friends. It is very important that cherish our heritage, both for the current and future generations.
'It is true to say that we operated the museum on a shoe string, and without any funds for years, apart from what monies that were generated in sales in the museum and with the wonderful staff of the Rural Social Scheme.'
Councillor Neil Cruise has raised the issue at municipal district level, seeking support from Mayo County Council to have the museum re-established in Foxford.