Portlaoise residents plead to keep local community center

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The inhabitants of a former social housing estate in Laois plead for the reopening of an associative center.

Brigid’s Place in Portlaoise is one of the oldest and largest estates built by the Laois council.

One of his houses was traditionally a community centre, but is in the process of becoming a council house again.

Some residents are calling for it to be reopened.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley spoke for them at the Portlaoise Municipal District May meeting.

In tabling a motion, she asks Laois County Council to ensure that the community center at St Brigid’s Place remains available to residents.

“As far as I remember, a house in St Brigid’s has been allocated to the residents’ association for a community centre. There are over 200 houses there.

“In addition to houses, we have to build communities. It was a great advantage to have a community center. I remember when I was a teenager there were music lessons and a lot of activities,” said Cllr Dwane Stanley.

Georgina Ireland is a Senior Housing Officer.

“The property was previously managed by Laois Partnership as a nursery and after school for the area. This facility is no longer in operation and the property has recently been returned to the council to be returned to our social housing stock. The Council notes that some local residents, who previously had use of the property, have expressed a desire to retain it for future community use It is proposed to meet with a delegation of local residents within the next fortnight to discuss their needs,” she said in a written response to the movement.

Cllr Dwane Stanley welcomed the response.

“Laois Partnership came on board after and opened the facility after school. They did a great job in the area but pulled out due to dwindling numbers. They are returning ownership to the council and it looks like the council must take him back to their Stock accommodation.

“Residents weren’t told. It wasn’t until they saw it was gutted that they realized it wasn’t there anymore. They feel it’s their community center They want to use it for a lot of things including a “women’s shed” in touch with one in Tullamore In fairness to the council they see where they’re from and I’m glad to see a reunion scheduled .

“If at any point they want to return it to the council, I have no doubt they will. A community center is vital,” said Cllr Dwane Stanley.

Cllr Willie Aird seconded his motion.

“For years it was a thriving center of activity. We provided it for the community to use and maintain for the whole community,” he said.

Cllr Noel Touhy noted the housing shortage.

“I have a lot of sympathy for the council and even more so for people looking for a house,” he said.

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