Community groups in for the ‘long haul’ to retain centre control
Neilstown Community Centre

Community groups in for the ‘long haul’ to retain centre control

RESPECTIVE campaigns by residents to retain control of Neilstown Community Centre (NCC) and Rowlagh Community Centre (RCC), continues with both groups vowing they are in this for the “long-haul”.

South Dublin County Council granted an interim management licence to South Dublin County Partnership last December for the Rowlagh centre, and intend to grant a one-year management licence to the Partnership for Neilstown.

According to residents involved on the two voluntary boards for years, there has been little in the way of consultation via the council, and they fear losing places set up by local people for local people, many of whom raised money from their own pockets to help establish the centres back in the 1980s.

Both groups are to hold AGM’s in early September, in an effort to elect new boards, and claim the council do not support the community to lead the management of either centre.

Grace Wills, a resident involved in the Neilstown campaign, said they hadn’t heard from the council since June but on Tuesday, they received an email requesting a meeting next week,

“We are hoping to have the meeting at the end of next week and hoping that it will be positive,” said Ms Wills.

Mary Power, Breda Cladingboel, Willie Rock, Marie Geraghty and Eddie Collins outside Neilstown Community Centre

“Mayor Peter Kavanagh dropped by last week and was hugely supportive.

“At this stage now, we are in it for the long-haul. We are hoping that the council will be open to an ongoing licenced agreement for a community-led management.”

Councillors Francis Timmons (Ind) and Derren Ó Brádaigh (SF) are on the board of the Neilstown centre and have jointly submitted a Motion to the council’s September’s full council meeting to raise the issue.

‘’I am on the board of three community centres and it’s time that South Dublin County Council recognise the value and huge commitment of voluntary boards that run community centres throughout the county,” said Cllr Timmons.

“Community centre’s should be for the community by the community, a community and council partnership approach should be the norm and not a move to management companies or agencies.

“Many of the community centre’s were to a large part, funded by community voluntary contributions and this needs to be respected.

“On a personal level I am disappointed that the communication has been in my opinion poor and I would encourage the council to work with all community services for the betterment of our entire county and its local communities.”

Over in Rowlagh, John O’Halloran, a local resident involved in the voluntary committee for 30 years, said: “Putting down Motion’s is fine but not when the council just ignore them. Cllr Ó Brádaigh had a Motion down last February but that was ignored. What is the purpose ?

“We need action from our councillors to ensure the council abide by Motion’s. We are locked out of the centre since January and no contact with the council for months.

“The constitution set up by the council 30 years ago (laying out the template for the running of the centres), ironically, they are ignoring the criteria in that now.

“We’re not resistant to change, but not at the exclusion of the community.

“I’d say we are in this for the long-haul, and want the council to recognise the value of the community.”

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