There are many Moycullen people, both still with us and those gone to their eternal rest, who have campaigned through the years for a Community Centre in the village. The Land Commission and Galway County Council were approached at various times but unfortunately no site was available for such a centre. Since the early 2000’s the community focus has been on the Coillte woods in the heart of the village behind Woodlands. After a lot of work by volunteers in the Community and the MCDA, and their predecessors, 23 acres of land is now in community ownership. I played my part in this as a County Councillor during a previous Moycullen Local Plan though the zoning process.

Planning permission was granted for the centre. I brought a delegation into Roinn na Gaeltachta, an application for funding was submitted and €1.5m was committed by the Roinn when I was Minister. Unfortunately, as cost estimates have increased the shortfall in funding is large. While the County Council could provide a certain amount of additional funding there is an identified need for a larger funding source.

I recently engaged with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar about establishing a Community Centre fund for new builds and refurbishments. On foot of this he wrote to Minister for Rural & Community Development, Heather Humphreys suggesting a fund be established as part of the review of the National Development Plan later this Summer. I have raised this with the Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath during a debate on the NDP recently as well.

I have spoken again with Minister Humphreys and the Tánaiste and I understand a submission for such a fund has been forwarded for inclusion in the NDP review.The standards of construction for such a centre are much higher than previously. Energy standards, sustainability costs, health and safety have all increased and it means the older practice of building a centre locally with volunteers, over a number of years as funding allows, is much reduced.

I have long believed that a dedicated fund, supplemented by Council, Roinn na Gaeltachta, LEADER, the Community’s own resources, loans, etc is necessary for larger growth centres like Moycullen and indeed other Communities nationwide.

I will continue to engage with all in Government on such a fund which I believe can provide the best chance to fund a Community Centre for Moycullen.