Work to be begin on Rathangan centre

Sharon and Mary O'Loughlin, Mary Foran, Eileen and Fiona O'Loughlin, at the 'Blubells and Buskers' Event at Kilinthomas Wood in aid of Rathangan Community Centre re-development project on Sunday, May 5.                      Photo Tony Keane.
Work could begin on the revamp of Rathangan Community Centre within weeks, now that funding has been approved by the Government.

Work could begin on the revamp of Rathangan Community Centre within weeks, now that funding has been approved by the Government.

Last week, Minister Phil Hogan announced he had given sanction for County Kildare LEADER Partnership to approve funding of €493,091, to Rathangan Community Association Ltd for the redevelopment of the centre.

“This project will be of immense benefit to Rathangan with it’s total project costs of €657,455, I know it will improve the quality of life and will strengthen the social and economic fabric for all the inhabitants of the area.”

The project will now go back to Kildare LEADER for final approval.

Committee chairman, Paddy O’Loughlin commented; “we are absolutely delighted. It has taken us nearly seven years to get to this point. There was a lot of work done behind the scenes and it’s marvellous that we are now almost in a position go ahead with the work.”

Fianna Fail Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin, who is a member of the committee also welcomed the announcement.

“It’s understood the final contracts can be signed in two weeks time so it’s all systems go. There could be someone on site in three weeks time.”

She said this facility would cater for all age groups and the inclusion of a youth cafe would also be of huge benefit to the young people of Rathangan.

“While there is very strong financial support from Kildare County Council and Leader, we still need to continue the local fund raising aspect,” she added.

Local election Fine Gael candidate, Mark Stafford, who is also on the committee, explained the centre is a decommissioned church.

“With modern fire regulations, parts of the building are deemed not suitable for use and the internal layout makes it difficult to operate multiple activities in separate areas of the centre at the same time. This project will provide a multipurpose community centre and facilitate a broader range of activities. It will provide a dedicated youth space in the town centre.”

The building was originally constructed in the 1870s, and is a protected structure. “It enjoyed its heyday in the late 1970s/1980s when the Rathangan Revels were hosted there every year. As teenager I myself spent upwards of five nights a week in the community centre at various activities and it is great to see that it will enjoy a renaissance and will again play a vital role in the rejuvenation and revitalisation of Rathangan.”

Deputy Martin Heydon remarked; “I have been in constant contact with Minister Hogan over the past number of months to highlight the importance of the project. I know from my dealings with Paddy O’Loughlin and his hardworking committee the enormous effort they have put in getting the project this far and I look forward to the completion of this essential project for the community.”