Tuesday, November 30, 2021



By Brian Byrne

THE possibility of developing a Men’s Shed, enhancements to security, and expansion of the Board of Kilcullen Community Centre were among the subjects discussed at an inaugural forum of users of the centre held last week.

The event was organised by manager Enda O’Neill with the aim of encouraging all to work together to add more community value to the campus. It was also an opportunity for individual groups to suggest how their activities could be enhanced.

The centre was built by the community of Kilcullen in 1982, on land donated by the Cross and Passion Sisters. Since then many other community and sports organisations have established their bases on the campus around the main building, which includes a large sports hall and community rooms.

In addition to community centre board members Ronan Murphy and Cathy Phelan, the organisations represented at last week’s Forum were the Kilcullen Community Childcare and Education Centre, Kilcullen Community Action/Tidy Towns, Kilcullen Scouts, St Bridget’s Pitch & Putt, Scoil Bhride, Cross and Passion College, Kilcullen Boxing Club, Kilcullen GAA and the Community Employment Scheme.

For the childcare centre, Carl Traynor noted that their group had been officially on the campus since 2014, and access to the All Weather Pitch had been very useful for the children when playing outside. Now they had almost completed their own all-weather facility behind their building. “We’ve had very good relationships with the Centre and we very much appreciate that.”

Chairperson of KCA Anne Cashman suggested it would be great to have a Men’s Shed type of facility on the campus. From a biodiversity aspect, she said it would be nice to see more bedding sections around the campus, and she also hoped that the soon-to-be-opened Coffee Hatch service would use sustainable materials and that there would be an appropriate number of bins around to deal with waste.

For Scoil Bhride, Muiris Ó Raoghaill said the school considered themselves very lucky to have all the facilities of the Community Centre ‘on our doorstep’. “We have around 700 pupils, and we use facilities like the All Weather Pitch a lot,” he said. “They play GAA and other sports as well and we always appreciate the welcome we get.” The Principal of CPC, Joe Leonard, noted that with 835 pupils and not having their own PE facilities, the College is ‘heavily dependent’ on both outdoor and indoor facilities on the campus. “We are probably the main user of the Centre, and there has always been a great relationship between us.” He noted particularly the location support that will probably be needed for the performance of the next Transition Year musical, as the school’s own Assembly Hall has been turned into classroom space because of distancing needs due to the pandemic.

As one of the oldest groups associated with the Centre, Christy Sweeney of St Bridget’s Pitch and Putt noted that they had been there since 1987, and continued to grow. “Despite the pandemic, we have increased our membership even more in the last two years,” he said, adding that the numbers of Juveniles playing had grown substantially. “We have one of the finest clubhouses in Ireland, and we recently got extra room to extend our museum. The Centre gives us great cooperation.”

For Kilcullen GAA, Dan Bell said the facility is a ‘credit to the town’ and that many people may not appreciate how lucky they are having all these facilities in one place. “I’ve travelled all over the country and there’s nothing like it anywhere else,” he said. He suggested that there could be opportunities for further cooperation on lighting and security between the GAA’s adjoining property and the Centre.

Representing the local area Community Employment Scheme, which is based in the Centre, Nessa Dunlea said the Scheme already provided for three staff at the facility, and the new Coffee Hatch will add more. She reminded those present that it’s important to remember that ‘we wouldn’t be here’ without the generosity of the Cross and Passion Sisters, and also the work of the people who have gone before in the management of the campus. Enda O’Neill noted that without the CES employees, ‘this place wouldn’t be functioning’.

Bernie Orford for the Kilcullen Boxing Club said that while they didn’t need to use any of the outdoor spaces on the campus, whenever they needed anything, the Centre always helps out. Michelle Hourihan, representing Kilcullen Scouts, spoke about the plans to build a permanent Scout Den behind the All Weather Pitch.

Concluding the meeting, Enda O’Neill thanked all for coming and suggested that a twice-yearly Forum like this could be very beneficial, and ‘sort out a lot of things’. On behalf of the Board, Ronan Murphy said they were anxious to have more representatives from the community on the Board and invited those present to consider getting involved.

Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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