The former band hall on Cutlery Road, Newbridge
A community group set up to secure the former band hall in Newbridge for public use, is campaigning to get the trustees of the building to engage with the local community.
The group has asked people in Newbridge to lobby their local councillors in advance of the issue being raised at next Wednesday’s Kildare Newbridge Municipal District meeting.
Cllr Joanne Pender and Cllr Mark Lynch have put a forward a motion which reads: "That this council calls on the trustees of the Ó Modhráin Hall to meet with the local community and its representatives to discuss retaining the hall in community ownership in accordance with the documented aims of the Trust (Coisde Cuimhneachain Eamonn Ó Modhráin) and that this council considers that maintaining the ownership of the building and attempting to refurbish the same is more important than the proceeds due from the proposed sale"
In a recent letter to the Leinster Leader editor, Group member, Orla O’Neill said the Charity Regulator is conducting an investigation into the proposed sale of the building following a public auction on July 26 last.
“This review will be based on legal issues relating to the Charitable Trust established when the Eamon O Modhráin Hall was purchased from the State in 1959 for community use,” she said.
“There has been ongoing and continuous community interest in this hall since then. The local committee established to ensure the hall is developed, as originally intended, as a cultural and community facility is continuing communications with the Charity Regulator on the importance of the building and its legal status. This follows initial correspondence to the Regulator objecting to any sale of the building.”
She said the legal documentation for the auction clearly stated the sale was subject to the agreement of the Charities Regulator.
"The Regulator is currently investigating the Eamonn O’Modhráin Hall Trust on foot of a range of concerns identified by members of the public in relation to the attempt of the trustees to sell the property. So it is incorrect to state the building is sold," add Ms O'Neill.
"The building is controlled by a charitable trust, which under the Charities Act 2009, should be registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority."
She said the group has been unable to identify, to date, where this is registered.
"Therefore, there appears to be no public register of who the Trustees are and information on the activities of the Trust since the property was taken back from the Town Band in 2014," she added.