Parish Hall must not be sold - Clear message from Drumcondra Public Meeting that this is a vital community amenity
Labour Dublin Central Senator Marie Sherlock has called for the protection of the Drumcondra Parish Hall. Last night, Senator Sherlock arranged a public meeting of residents, local groups active in the area, the residents associations and all those with an interest in seeing the parish hall retained for future use. The catalyst for this meeting was the campaign run by parents in the community whose children attend the Montessori and afterschool that is run out of the Parish hall. Next week, 45 children will lose their place as the service is being forced to vacate the hall.
Speaking after the meeting, Senator Marie Sherlock said:
“There was a very clear message from the public meeting - the parish hall is a vital community amenity and it must not be lost. Last night, we had groups who have used the hall for many years tell us how they have been “stonewalled” by church representatives on the future use of the hall. The hall has been a hive of activity in the local community for almost six decades and it would be a huge loss to the local community if local fears prove true and the hall is sold off by Church authorities.
“This is a dreadful development given that it is the middle of the school year and takes place at a time where there is already a major scarcity of places across this part of Dublin. Our immediate demand is that the service be allowed continue until June next year and I will be joining parents in another protest outside the Archbishop’s residence tomorrow evening Thursday 16th at 5:30pm.
“The closure of Montessori and afterschool is only one of many groups we heard from last night. We also heard from McCluskey’s Irish dancing who have used the hall for 43 years and Drumcondra Ladies Club who have continuously used the hall for then past 52 years. Representatives from the Drumcondra Triangle Residents Association (DTRA) and Griffith Avenue and District Residents Association (GADRA) also highlighted their deep-seated concerns.”
The owners of the Montessori and afterschool, who were engaged in a legal battle to remain in the hall, last night shared the bill of works that Church authorities are claiming is required and which was presented in Court.
Senator Sherlock said: “the detail contained within that bill of works was a damning contradiction that the hall is closed because of a fire safety risk.”
Local resident, DTRA member and parent of a child in the afterschool care, Angela Boyle Shafer said:
“The community deserves clarity on the future plans for the Hall. It's clear that the Church is not acting transparently on this matter. It's crucial we do all we can to protect and retain this community amenity”.