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US donors sought for the Heaney HomePlace

The £4m HomePlace centre in County Derry—dedicated to the life and work of poet Seamus Heaney—has suffered a £1m loss since it opened in 2016. The south Derry area has become a popular place for Heaney fans, and HomePlace is estimated to bring in £800K annually to the area. A spokeswoman for HomePlace stated that ‘While there is a net cost to the council … [HomePlace] remains a key strand of the council’s investment in the development of literary tourism and an exemplar for success in rural tourism’. In an effort to bolster the centre, a council delegation—including Seamus Heaney’s son Christopher, Sinn Féin chair Seán McPeake, DUP deputy chair Frances Burton, Council chief executive Anthony Tohill, and HomePlace manager Brian McCormick—has travelled to America in a bid to network with potential donors. They met with organisations such the Ireland Funds America, Philanthropy Inc., University of St Thomas, Baylor University, Northern Ireland Bureau, Dallas City Council and various journalists.