ALL hope is now lost that Tara House, headquarters of the Queensland Irish Association (QIA) since 1919, can continue as the home of the Irish community in Queensland.
The QIA Steering Committee has confirmed that lease negotiations with the new owner of Tara House have not been successful.
Angela Laylee of the QIA Steering Committee said: “The rent that the owner has been offered from another tenant was too high for us to be able to match on a responsible and reasonable assessment of potential future trading figures.”
She added: “I cannot express how devastating it is for me to bring this news to you.”
Tara House is a heritage-listed former club house at 179 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. It was designed by legendary Donegal architect Richard Gailey. Building began in 1878 and the Irish Club owned and operated the building from 1919.
The Queensland Irish Association is the longest continuously operating national association in Queensland. Tara House has been visited by Irish presidents, including Eamon de Valera and Mary Robinson, and Ambassadors. In 2003, the QIA celebrated its centenary, with then-Irish President Mary McAleese making the celebrations the centrepiece of her state visit that year.
The association had suffered major setbacks with financial problems and declining membership during the First World War and the Depression but always pulled through. Yet, despite a huge influx of Irish immigrants into Brisbane in recent years, the club had been struggling financially and was placed into administration in January after accumulating a large amount of debt.
Arrangements are being made by the liquidator to remove and store all the QIA’s possessions of cultural and historical significance.
The Steering Committee and sub-committees of QIA hope to call a meeting of former members in the new year to present proposals for the future operations of the QIA.