Campaign for community centre in Limerick suburb


Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Campaign for community centre in Limerick suburb

Garryowen CDP staff, pictured with Kieran O’Donnell in the estate

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to bring one of Limerick’s largest housing estates a permanent community centre – at the Markets Field stadium.

The Garryowen Community Development Project (CDP) wants to move onto a space beside the grounds, where it will build a new community centre.

Staff believe they can convince Limerick City and County Council, the Department of the Environment and local politicians to support their cause.

At present, the CDP shares space with St John’s Brass and Reed Band – meaning Garryowen, with its 3,300 residents, is the largest city estate without a community centre. Claire Flynn, chairperson of the CDP said as a result of this, they are restricted in what they can offer.

“It’s desperate at this stage. We outgrew our current premises very quickly. SO in terms of being able to offer more adult education, and trying to support different people, it is difficult. Our youth clubs cannot accommodate the amount of children. Already we have to pay to take our young people for sport and other activities as we cannot offer it in Garryowen,” she said.

The Garryowen CDP had identified Brannigans Bar at Mulgrave Street – formerly owned by exiled state witness Steve Collins – as a stop-gap solution.

But with these plans falling through, the focus now switches to finding a permanent home. Claire said: “We have been looking at the Markets Field. Before JP [McManus] bought it, the FAI had approached us about the possibility of joining with them in a venture to have a community centre there. It would be ideal. It is at the Garryowen Road, you could have a door facing onto the Garryowen Road. And everyone knows where the Markets Field is.”

Claire and her members of staff will be lobbying local politicians and the business community, while other community centres across the city – including St Munchin’s in Kileely – will be writing letters.

“We think the council would support it. We know the community would support it. We believe the Department of the Environment would support it. The problem with Brannigans is we were told the location was not ideal. Structure-wise, the way the land lay was not ideal. Whereas in the Markets Field, it ticks all these boxes,” she said, “The community are really behind soccer moving back to the stadium, so it almost seems natural to put a community centre for the people of Garryowen in there as well.”