Tyrone Guthrie Access
The aim of this petition is to address recent access issues to the lake at the Tyrone Guthrie centre and to seek clarity on the future relationship between the centre and the local communities.
After a series of events at the Tyrone Guthrie centre during the year a meeting was organised by concerned community members at the Acorn community hall on the 17.08.09 in the local town of Newbliss. The premise of this meeting was to discuss the treatment of staff at the centre. During this meeting other issues began to emerge, in particular the right of way and general access to the Annamakerrig Lake. Local people who had fished at the lake for over thirty years and people who had enjoyed a walk around the lake more recently have found themselves locked out. The main gates of the centre are permanently locked as are the gates to both sides of the centre.
People spoke with great passion and affection with regards to Annamakerrig and to Tyrone Guthrie himself. They mentioned how in the past Guthrie had established a jam factory to give local employment at difficult economic times. How he worked with the community and would queue up like everybody else for his wages at the end of the week. The community feels that the whole ethos as Tyrone Guthrie would have envisaged was presently being dissipated. These are older members of the community that knew Guthrie personally as a neighbour and a friend and for whom this amenity has always been a part of their lives.
A second meeting was organised for the 17.09.09, Local parishes, schools and political representatives where informed of the meeting. Councillors Pat Treynor (Sinn Fein) and Hugh Mc Elvaney (Fine Gael) where in attendance. T D’s Seymour Crawford (FG), Heather Humphries (FG) (Mayor of Monaghan), and Margerate Conlon(FF) where informed of the time and purpose of the meeting. All three wish to meet in the near future to discuss the community’s issues.
The second meeting focused on issues relating to right of way and again the recent ‘fortified’ and insular nature of the centre. An article was written in the Mail on Sunday 6.09.09 in which the director said the reasons for security cameras and the locked gates where due to a lot of women at the centre feeling nervous in such an isolated place. The local community took great offence to these comments and felt that they were being perceived as a threat where this was never the case in the past. Annamakerrig lake is viewed as the major amenity in this area of Monaghan. At the meeting people talked of swimming, picnics and boats on the lake in the past and now they are made feel they are trespassing.
The Tyrone Guthrie centre is funded by the arts councils north and south and maintained by the Office of public works, all of these bodies paid for by the people being prohibited right of way. At this meeting a committee was established and it was agreed that meetings be held every three months to monitor and access the future developments between the local communities and the Tyrone Guthrie centre.
1. In relation to right of way and access to the lake the committee feels that these issues should not depend on one director to the next but should reflect a more permanent procedure as with other art centres around the country funded by the arts councils and maintained by the Office of public works.
It is important to note that the committee understand and respect the need for artists to have a space for reflection and concentration. The committee of Annnamakerrig recognise that the Tyrone Guthrie centre is a retreat and workplace for artists. These areas of access relate to the lake and the pathway and its circumference and not to the house, farm houses or the areas in close proximity of either.
If you are familiar with the centre your support on these matters would be greatly appreciated. We must emphasise that both the artistic community and the local communities in Monaghan whom have an interest in the affairs of the Tyrone Guthrie centre must take collective ownership and responsibility with regards to these matters. In April 2010 a hard copy of this same document will be circulated around the communities adjoining the Tyrone Guthrie centre. Once both of these petitions have been circulated and compiled consultations will be sought with the political representatives in the county of Monaghan on how best to move forward with these issues.
The Committee of Annamakerrig.