The Board of the Victoria House Foundation met in Ballina, Co. Mayo on Saturday 26 November 2016. The Board and its project partners Mayo County Council and NUI Galway reiterated their commitment to the vision to use Mary Robinson’s legacy at a location in Ballina to inspire and foster personal leadership in the service of promoting human rights, gender equality and women’s leadership.
For the Victoria House Foundation, the core of this vision continues to be the tremendous gift of Mary Robinson’s archive to the West of Ireland, most particularly for its scholarly value, and the opportunity to create academic and tourism activity.
To achieve that, and as part of an ongoing review of the project by the stakeholders, Mary Robinson confirmed that her archive will be gifted to NUI Galway with Mayo County Council having full access to any part of the collection which is required to support the mission of the centre in Ballina. Storage of the archive in Galway will obviate the need to duplicate expensive archival facilities in Ballina.
Developing the centre around Mary’s childhood home remains the preferred option of the Victoria House Foundation and other options will also be explored as part of the current review of the project, to be concluded in Q1 2017, and the Board will provide a fuller update on the outcomes of the review at that time.
At the meeting of the Victoria House Foundation, the Board was informed that the Revenue Commissioners had confirmed its valuation of the Archive at €4.65 million, with its valuer reporting that it was “of the utmost importance both nationally and internationally to an Irish and world audience of scholars and academics”.
Under Section 1003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, the market value is the lesser of the value placed by the donor and the value placed by the Revenue Commissioners. In this case the value obtained by Mayo County Council and accepted by Mary Robinson was the lower figure of €2.5 million, and this figure was taken for the purposes of calculating the potential tax credit of €2 million. Taking account of Capital Gains Tax that may have arisen on the donation of the archive to the State, the net credit that could have arisen is estimated at €1.2 million.
Mary Robinson reiterated at the meeting of the Board that she does not intend to avail of any tax credit that might be available to her under Section 1003.
Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said the university was honoured to accept the archive. “It is a tremendous gift to the West of Ireland. NUI Galway, which has on its own campus recently built state-of-the-art archival facilities with an established team of experienced archivists and librarians, is privileged to receive such a wonderful gift. It will benefit our students and researchers for years to come, and indeed will offer a fabulous resource to scholars of human rights, gender equality and women's leadership all over the world. We will ensure that the University will protect and facilitate best use of this unique and very valuable resource.’
Mr Peter Hynes, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, said he looked forward to a phased development of the centre with NUI Galway. “This renewed commitment by the Foundation and its partners will bring tremendous benefits to Ballina, to Mayo and to the West. I look forward to Mayo County Council providing a leadership role in developing this extremely important project into the future.”
Today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign which runs until the 10th of December, International Human Rights Day. This campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. In 2016, the emphasis of the campaign is the need for sustainable financing for efforts to end violence against women and girls towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and specifically Goal 5: Gender Equality.
One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls is the substantial funding shortfall globally. Resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.
At The Mary Robinson Centre International Symposium in July, one of our plenary sessions focussed on Goal 5: Mobilising Resources to Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls. This panel featured talks from GERALDINE FRASER-MOLEKETI, Gender Envoy for the African Development Bank; HEATHER GRADY, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and NOELEEN HEYZER, formerly Head of UNIFEM and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (ESCAP) and was Chaired by MARY ROBINSON.
You can watch the full plenary session below.
More information about the 16 Days of Activism Campaign can be found on the UN Women, WHO and Women's Aid Ireland websites.
On the 20th of October, The Mary Robinson Centre’s Visiting Scholar Salomé Ntububa from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), spoke to approximately 90 Transition Year students at the Jesus and Mary Secondary School. Gortnor Abbey in Crossmolina, Co Mayo. As part of our ongoing Bringing Human Rights to Life Schools’ Programme, Salomé’s presentation gave an overview of the 20-year conflict in the DRC, highlighted key targets in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals applicable to promoting sustainable peace in the country and gave specific examples of Irish Aid funded emergency and development projects that are having a real impact on improving the lives of those affected by conflict. It was a unique experience for young people in Mayo to hear directly from a very senior humanitarian worker from the region with both professional and personal experience of the war.
Reflecting afterwards, students commented that they had learned so much about a conflict they had not understood before today. “It was so eye opening to hear what kids have to go through every day, that many of them can’t even go to school.” The TY students said they wanted to help, but they also wanted to know where money would go and what sort of projects it would support. “We hear so much about Trump in the media all the time, but nothing about this war which is affecting so many and is so important.”
Salomé Ntububa is Regional Emergency Manager for Central and West Africa, Christian Aid in the DRC. From South Kivu, Salomé has worked as a humanitarian practitioner for over 17 years, in East and West African countries. Currently, Salomé Ntububa leads Christian Aid’s humanitarian responses in West and Central Africa, including monitoring the political and security situation to anticipate future interventions.
As part of her week of activities as The Mary Robinson Centre’s Visiting Scholar from the 17-24 October 2016, Salomé gave several seminars to postgraduate students at NUI Galway, participated in a film screening of War in Eastern Congo and discussion with documentary maker Dearbhla Glynn at the Ballina Library on the 19th of October 2016 and celebrated Congolese culture at Ballyhaunis direct provision centre on the 21st of October. Further details of dates and activities with visiting scholars is available at: http://www.maryrobinsoncentre.ie/visitingscholar.html
Would you like your school to participate in the Bringing Human Rights to Life Programme? We would be delighted to come and talk at your school in November or December. For more information about these events, please contact Natasha Price, Academic Coordinator, at email@example.com or 087 971 3204
Global Sports Charity Active Communities Network, supported by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and in partnership with The Mary Robinson Centre, launched the All-Ireland strategy in Ballina on the 20th of October
If you were in Ballina on the 20th of October, you would have definitely heard about the Active Communities Network Launch Sport Event and Evening Reception. The event was attended by all-blacks Rugby Legend Sean Fitzpatrick, history making Jockeys Sir AP McCoy and Hayley Turner, Mayo GAA star Aidan O’Shea and many other sports stars, all key supporters of the partnership.
The evening was a terrific chance to come together in support of sport, with an address from Mary Robinson, key note speech from Sean Fitzpatrick, a speech on the All-Ireland Strategy by Jim Donnelly and a panel of sports stars including Sean Fitzpatrick, AP McCoy and Aiden O’Shea. All proceeds from the dinner are to be invested in Mayo based sports initiatives for young people.
If you missed being able to attend the events on the day, the All Ireland Launch is being covered on Irish TV this evening: Mayo Matters at 7.30pm. The programme will be repeated onThursday, November 3rd at 3pm and Saturday, November 5th at 11am. Sky 191, Freesat 400 and irishtv.ie / irishtv.com
Viewers can also watch it live online here: http://www.irishtv.ie/broadcast/