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Ex-Runrig star supports fight to save Ironworks in Inverness

By Gregor White

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Donnie Munro has backed the campaign.
Donnie Munro has backed the campaign.

FORMER Runrig frontman Donnie Munro has thrown his weight behind the fight to save Inverness’s Ironworks venue.

The musician has backed Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart’s campaign to find new premises to replace the Academy Street building that has been leased by the music business since 2006. It risks closure after a planning application was lodged to replace it with a hotel.

Mr Stewart said all options are being explored in the search for a new home for The Ironworks but the dream deal would secure funding and sponsorship for a new-build indoor venue that could support big crowds or find suitable premises elsewhere.

Mr Munro, whose band acquired legendary status for bringing Scottish culture to an international audience, said: “I can certainly see the attraction for having a decent-sized bespoke music venue in Inverness serving a considerable catchment area around the city itself, the Moray Firth area, Easter & Wester Ross, Fort William, Lochaber, Dornoch, Tain, Sutherland and Caithness and to Skye and Lochalsh in the west. That is a potentially large demographic.”

Mr Munro said a feasibility study, a business plan and an economic impact study, would need to be developed “as a priority” to reflect the economic benefits of The Ironworks – direct and indirect – and examine “all the other important social impacts, equal opportunities, access and inclusion”. He added: “There is undoubtedly a case to be made but in this financial climate it needs to be well-supported by carefully considered and realistic projections and assumptions and, importantly, be evidence based.”

Mr Stewart has secured a meeting with Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop to raise the matter. He has also been investigating potential solutions and meeting various groups including Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Creative Scotland to fin premises for The Ironworks which employs 62 full and part-time staff. His online petition has attracted more than 2000 signatures. Mr Stewart said: “The Ironworks has single-handedly supported the Highlands’ music scene. Letting it go without a fight is not an option. The petition needs more names.”

Click here to sign the petition.

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