Moves which could have privatised Knocknacarra Community Centre halted

Moves which could potentially have led to the privatisation of the Knocknacarra Community Centre have been halted. A chance now exists for locals to put forward ideas on how the centre can be run.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Independent Galway City West councillor Catherine Connolly put forward a motion, asking city manager Brendan McGrath not to take any further steps to complete the ‘expressions of interest’ process for the Knocknacarra Community Centre.

The motion also called for a halt to the proposed tender process, in order to allow residential, community, and sporting groups to put forward “reasonable proposals” to allow the centre “remain open for the maximum number of hours” and be “run by the people”.

City Hall recently sought expressions of interest regarding the managing of the centre. Despite giving public assurances that the process was open to local and public groups, as well as private ones, and that “the council is anxious to ensure locally-based groups are accommodated”, there was concern that the recently opened centre could eventually become a privately run entity.

Cllr Connolly’s motion was passed unanimously by all councillors and Mr McGrath agreed to abide by same.

“This is a very sensible decision and will allow the new council to listen to what the Knocknacarra community actually want,” she said, “and more particularly to allow interested groups to put forward proposals. The challenge now is to find a workable community solution”.

The council’s decision has been welcomed by Fianna Fáil Galway City West candidate David Burke, who organised a public meeting on the issue. However he is still concerned by the restricted number of hours for which the centre is currently open.

“The centre is still closed every weekday up to 3pm and fully closed on Mondays and Tuesdays,” he said. “This is crazy when it is nearly open over eight months. If this issue is not addressed it may give rise to an anti-social behaviour issues across the Knocknacarra during the summer.”

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