DOON has been one of the worst hit villages in the county with the loss of their bank, garda station and library.
PRO of Doon Community Council, Tom Hayes, says it is a sign of the times and they are making the best of the situation.
A mobile bank comes once a week to the village. At the beginning it parked on Main Street and locals were getting soaked as they queued. So they came up with the idea of getting the bank to come to the recently refurbished community centre where customers could wait their turn inside.
Now they have a garda coming to the community centre twice a month on the same day as the mobile bank. It is the latest addition to Bruff Superintendent Alan Cunningham’s policing project to serve communities who have lost their local garda from station closures or retirement.
Supt Cunningham launched the initiative in October. Gardai attend clinics in Galbally, Oola, Knocklong and Doon.
The plan is a joint one between gardai and locals, said the superintendent.
“The garda will be available to meet with locals to address any concerns they may have. The garda can deal with tax forms, passport applications and any community issues they wish to bring to the attention of the garda. They will be able to meet the garda in private.
“A lot of people are interested in this and want to see it going forward. We have got a very positive reaction,” said Supt Cunningham.
The latest village to benefit is Doon. Its station was closed in 2012.
Doon Community Council worked with gardai to facilitate the plan.
“It is a great facility for everyone and particularly the elderly in the parish who are unable to travel. They can get forms, dog licence, passport etc stamped or have a quiet word in confidence.
“We don’t have a garda anymore so now they can meet one face to face and have a chat if they have any worries,” said Mr Hayes.
As Cappamore or Pallasgreen station can’t be open full-time due to garda cutbacks the only option was to drive to Bruff.
“It is a long drive to Bruff. But now we have a set time twice a month,” said Mr Hayes.
The mobile bank comes every Thursday between 11.45 and 12.45 so they picked the same day for the garda.
“It is on the first and last Thursday of the month in the community centre between 11am and 1pm,” said Mr Hayes.
Garda Edel Moloney was on hand to deal with queries and Mr Hayes hoped locals will make the most of the service on their doorstep.
“I’d like to thank the gardai for their co-operation. It is a great addition to the parish,” said Tom.
They have also done their best to replace their permanent library.
“We have a book loan scheme in the porch of the community centre where visitors can take a book and bring it back the following week. It is free of charge,” said Mr Hayes.
So now locals can do their banking, speak to a garda and borrow a book on the same day in the community centre.
We can’t be cribbing over what is gone and make the best of it,” summed up Mr Hayes.
Since the community council has been elected up to half a million has been spent in the locality thanks to Ballyhoura and fundraising.
“One hundred thousand was spent on the playground, the refurbishment of the hall cost €300,000 and thousands were spent on painting and landscaping. We would like to thank Ballyhoura for all their help and support,” said Mr Hayes.
To continue paying for the refurbishment they are hosting a monster 45 drive on Sunday, December 29 at 8pm and a tea dance on January 10 in the hall.