Kilkenny County Council’s set to be next to enter talks with Diageo about the future of the Smithwick’s Experience.
It’s after this week’s meeting between the drinks giant and local publicans ended in stalemate, with the company still determined to close the popular tourist attraction.
It was revealed at yesterday’s (Friday’s) meeting of city councillors that the Chief Executive of the local authority is now also due to meet with Diageo.
The council’s Director of Services Tim Butler says they’re determined to try find a positive solution for all involved;
“From our point of view, we wan to talk to all involved and that would include the Vintners, the hospitality [sector], the Chamber and Diageo themselves to see what’s the best solution here, and how the local authority can assist in any way with coming to that resolution” he shared with KCLR News.
Going forward with the negotiations, Tim urges it’s important to remember that the council owes a great deal to Diageo- including their purchase of the Abbey Quarter site from the brewing company;
“That [site] only came to us because Diageo engaged with us” he explains. “I think it would have been a very different prospect had the local authority not been facilitated to purchase the site, and we’re delighted to develop the whole Irishtown side of the city. We’re looking forward to its further development, and the addition that will bring to the city itself, and the additional visitors it will bring.”
Yesterday’s meeting heard several city councillors raise frustration and disappointment over the attraction’s shock closure, with calls for the local authority to ensure the continuation of the Smithwick’s Experience.
Tim agrees the Kilkenny’s brewing history will have to be preserved somehow- but is uncertain whether that can be done through the Smithwick’s Experience;
“I mean, the building is Diageo’s. I think it would be important that the history of brewing be told somewhere within the city itself. It’s a little early to say, before any discussions take place, as to where that will end up.”