The day that supporters of the the Kilcullen Childcare Centre thought might never arrive finally happened on Saturday last, Ocotber 19.
It was marked with an official ‘turning of the sod’ ceremony, by Maureen Keogh, who founded Naomh Bríde Community Playgroup 31 years ago and three year old, Caitlin Bennett, the youngest member of the playgroup.
Plans for the Centre were stalled in June when Minister Phil Hogan halted Kildare LEADER Partnership’s decision to award a grant.
That lead to several local protests, including a sit-in at TD Martin Heydon’s constituency office.
Following intense negotiations by local activists and LEADER with the Department of the Environment, the decision not to grantaid the project was reversed.
The project, which has a value of almost €500,000, is being constructed by Kennycourt Developments and managed by Martin Murphy of Murphy Design Build Solutions.
The build is expected to take seven months and will be ready for occupation in the new 2014 school year. 75% of the funding is from the Rural Development Programme under the auspices of Kildare LEADER Programme.
The balance was raised through a social finance loan and local fundraising.
Speaking at the ceremony, Iseult O’Donoghue, Co-chair of Kilcullen Community Childcare Centre thanked everyone who had contributed to the project which had been many years in gestation. Earlier attempts to get the Centre built ran aground when leasing difficulties arose.
“This uplifting day is finally here due to the hard work of lots of people over lots of years,” she said. “We would like to pay tribute to Maureen Keogh who had the foresight to start a community playgroup.”