Clarity needed on review of sale of former Newbridge Band Hall

Charities Regulator declines to comment

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Clarity needed on review of sale of former Newbridge Band Hall

O'Modhráin Hall, Newbridge

The Charities Regulator is declining to comment on the controversial sale of O'Modhráin Hall in Newbridge. 

According to solicitors acting on behalf of the building's trustees, the sale has been approved by the regulator. When contacted by the Leader, the regulator said it is not commenting on the issue.  

Wilkinson Price Solicitors were contacted by the council on foot of requests from local councillors for a meeting with the trustees.

The council said the solicitors “advised that the request to have a meeting with the trustees was not possible at this stage due to the fact that the sale of Ó’Modhráin Hall was near completion.”

It said; “They further advised that the Charities Regulator approved the sale and the process in which the sale was finalised (i.e. public auction). A formal written reply is awaited from the solicitor.”

Members of an action group set up to seek more information about the sale of the former band hall held a public meeting last summer.

The hall was sold at a public auction on July 26 for €270,000.

A committee, founded on foot of the meeting, contacted the Charities Regulator.

It called on the regulator to examine legal issues relating to the Charitable Trust established when the Eamon O Modhráin Hall was purchased from the State in 1959 for community use.

READ MORE: Campaign launched over Newbridge hall sale

The committee also sought information about when the trustees were appointed as well as asking if the public interest was best served by the sale of the hall. The historical importance of the building was also highlighted and various documents outlining its ownership supplied to the regulator.

The group is seeking clarity from the Charities Regulator as to whether a decision has been made and the reasons for it's decision. 

Orla O’Neill, a member of the group, said; "We have already been working with LEADER to look at the possibility of carrying out a feasibility study for a youth centre or a flexible youth space in Newbridge given that there is still a gap for facilities for the youth in the largest town in the county. We would hope that a space like the Eamon O Modhráin Hall could be one of those spaces which could be used as a youth centre, especially given its location in the heart of the town."