Community centre opens in Coolcots

HOWLIN PAYS TRIBUTE TO WORK OF VOLUNTEERS

MARIA PEPPER

THE MINISTER FOR Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin took his hat off to hard-working volunteers when he officially opened the new Coolcotts Community Centre.

The once derelict centre in Coolcotts has been transformed into a modern hive of community activity with state-of-theart facilities for meetings, workshops, classes and social events.

The building was handed over by Wexford Borough Council to Clonard Area Development Association ( CADA) which developed it with the help of Wexford Local Development and RAPID.

Minister Howlin was brought on a tour of the premises last Friday evening and was especially struck by the multi-sensory room which he said he might avail of to de-stress when he is holding clinics in the adjoining SIPTU offices on a Saturday morning!

' When I'm particularly stressed, I'll pop in here and surround myself with soothing lights,' he joked.

He described the centre as a fantastic facility and a ' new beating heart ' in the community.

Paying tribute to everyone who made it possible, he said that when we take stock today of what we have lost, it is immaterial because what we are left with is more important - the essence of good people who serve their community without asking what they will get in return, only what they can give.

'What we have is good people re-developing and enriching this community,' he said.

Breda Maher, the chairperson of CADA said the centre operated entirely through voluntary work. ' Everyone comes and gives of their time and effort. Everyone involved deserves a round of applause.'

She paid tribute to two people who are no longer around - the late Bernard O' Brien, former CEO of Wexford Local Development who had a vision of how this community could move on and the late Chrissie Cleary, a former member of CADA.

Breda said CADA owed Bernard a debt of gratitude for his support and encouragement. ' This building is part of his legacy.'

She described Chrissie as a community development activist when there wasn't even a name on it.

The Mayor of Wexford Cllr. Joe Ryan complimented the Clonard community on providing such an excellent facility for people to use at a time when it was never more needed.

The new building was blessed by Fr. Sean Devereux who returned to Wexford from Africa several months ago and after hearing so much about how Ireland had changed, was delighted to find in Clonard, a strong and close-knit community.

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