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.”