WHEN Brother Kieran Creedon stepped inside his former home last week, he was impressed with the transformation of the former De La Salle brother’s building, which has been converted into a fantastic community and family centre.
Now known as Teach Dara, Minister Joan Burton arrived on Thursday March 7 to officially open the new facility. Brother Kieran spent eight years living here and now its bright airy rooms have been brought back to life as the community take over the next chapter in its history.
Minister Burton said it was great to be in Kildare in the spring with new growth and positivity in the air. She praised the Kildare Leader fund for backing the project. She noted that when the building first came into existence in 1884, its residents would have had memories of the famine, and they would have witnessed a time of great change in Ireland throughout the war of independence and other landmark events.
She said Teach Dara would cater for families and their children giving enormous positivity and hopefulness in the current tough times. She praised everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition and was delighted to hear the centre was using the services of the Tús workers. She noted how the different generations were utilising the centre including the grandparents’ group.
“I hope you have a very happy place for the people that will be using it and that that happiness will carry out into the community,” she said.
“Dynamic, strong communities are key to ensuring that the culture of job creation in very village and town can survive and thrive,” stressed the Minister.
Teach Dara board member Aidan McKeown thanked her for taking time out of her busy schedule to open the centre.
“After years of dedication and hard work it’s a day of great pride for all those involved,” he declared.
Mayor of Kildare, Spike Nolan joined in the praise and said the centre would become a focal point for Kildare town.
Chairperson of the Teach Dara board, Carmel Terry gave a brief history of the project from its roots five years ago to today. She praised the Kildare Education and Community Partnership, the Kildare Leader Programme and Kildare County Council. She said the building was home to the De La Salle brothers for 120 years before they departed in 2004. Following the Let Your Voice Be Heard survey carried out in 2008, Ms Terry emphasised a need was established for such a centre. Fr. Adrian Carbery handed over the building from the parish to the community for it to be utilised. Funding of almost half a million euro was secured through Leader. She thanked Mary Keane, Breda Gleeson, and Margaret Cleary for all their hard work.
“Teach Dara is a place to bring the community together under one roof,” she outlined. The chairperson said it was now home to many groups including the grandparents group, Kildare Dyslexia branch, Men’s group, adult art group, VEC training, sculpture classes and the Biggest Loser group to name but a few. There are 25 groups booked in a regular basis and 17 on an occasional basis. The anchor tenants include the South Western Regional Drugs Task Force, Tus Supervisor, Child Play Therapist and Herbalife.
Chris Byrne from Kildare Leader Partnership praised the way the committee had utilised the funds to provide such a fantastic facility.
Rev. John Marsden and Fr. Adrian Carbery officially blessed the building while afterwards, Minister Burton planted an oak tree in the grounds of the building before cutting the ribbon.
- Niamh O’Donoghue