Local residents oppose ‘privatisation’ of community centre

A group of residents from the Ballinfoile Mór-Castlegar area demonstrated outside City Hall last Monday afternoon in advance of a Galway City Council meeting to voice their opposition to any effort by the local authority to privatise a new community centre in the area.

In a statement the group said that, after campaigning for 30 years for proper interior sports and community facilities, “the local community will not allow it to be lost to private enterprise whose priority understandably will be profitability rather than fulfilling social needs”.

It is understood the local authority is examining its options in how the new facility will be managed and funded through a social enterprise model. A report on the proposal had been due to be discussed at Monday’s council meeting, having been deferred last month. On Monday the discussion was again deferred, until next month.

Residents have pointed out that the facility has been paid for by the local community through a recreational levy per house sale, which in the 1980s amounted to £1,000. They were joined in their protest by council staff concerned about privatisation of public facilities, by Gerry Corbett of the Knocknacarra Community Centre campaign group, and members of People Before Profit.

More than 1,300 people from the area have signed a petition on the issue.

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