Council wants meeting on future of brewery site

Members of Kilkenny Borough Council are seeking to meet with Diageo to ask that the Smithwick’s visitors centre remains open after the closure of St Francis Abbey Brewery at the end of next year, that a micro-brewery operates on the site, that the vacated site be redeveloped to the advantage of the city and that rights of the remaining workers be protected.

Members of Kilkenny Borough Council are seeking to meet with Diageo to ask that the Smithwick’s visitors centre remains open after the closure of St Francis Abbey Brewery at the end of next year, that a micro-brewery operates on the site, that the vacated site be redeveloped to the advantage of the city and that rights of the remaining workers be protected.

Cllrs Seán Ó hArgáin (Lab), Marie Fitzpatrick (Lab), Malcolm Noonan (Greens), Martin Brett (FG), Paul Cuddihy (FG), Betty Manning (FG) and David Fitzgerald (FG) have submitted a notice of motion on the matter for discussion at next Monday’s council meeting.

The motion proposes that “Kilkenny Borough Council expresses its disappointment at the decision of Diageo Ireland to discontinue brewing at St Francis Abbey, a tradition which has existed for more than 400 years.

“Recognising the central place in the tradition and culture of Kilkenny which brewing has played, this council undertakes to do the following:

“1. To engage meaningfully with Diageo to continue the activity of its successful visitor centre in the city.

“2. To work steadfastly with the company to ensure the sustainable development of its crucial city centre site in order to enhance the future development of the area and to maximise the potential job replacement involved.

“3. To meet with and work with the representatives of Smithwick’s workers who have played a vital party in the industrial and labour traditions of our city to ensure their rights as workers are protected.

“4. To actively seek to encourage a continuation of brewing in Kilkenny with the encouragement of a micro-brewery to ensure a Kilkenny based and brewed beer continues to be available.”