Maurice O'Connell: The E-Hub will play a crucial role in the regeneration of Abbeyfeale
THERE was jubilation in six communities in West Limerick this week as their high-profile projects were awarded funding under the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, while three others around the county also made the final cut.
The single biggest project to be funded under the scheme is the proposed E-Hub in Abbeyfeale which has been awarded €200,000. The hub, which will be located in a landmark building in the town, is intended to provide IT facilities and professional office space to local businesses and start-ups and to support passing business people through hot-desking.
It is a flagship project of the local community council with Innovate Limerick.
Kilmeedy is to receive €100,000 to fit out and complete its community cafe and shop and horticultural centre. The tiny community of Ballysteen is also to receive €100,000 to transform its century-old Carnegie Library into a community meeting centre while Ballyhahill has been awarded funding of €99,918 to develop a river walk and further enhance the village.
A plan by Glin Development Association to raise its visitor profile has also received a boost of €96,000 which will go towards developing an interpretive and visitor centre in an unused section of the library. Funding of €96,000 will help provide a children’s playground in Shanagolden.
A food hub in Kilfinane, a community cafe in Castleconnell and visitor facilities at Griston Bog will also benefit. Limerick received a total of €€963,918 under the scheme.
Welcoming the funding for the E-Hub, Abbeyfeale Community Council chairman, Maurice O’Connell said that working closely with Innovate Limerick which spearheaded the funding application had been key to their success. He said he hoped to see work begin early in the new year and to be completed within 18 months.
Local councillor Séamus Browne, who is also a board member of Innovate Limerick, said the funding “marks a significant step forward in delivering the project for Abbeyfeale and West Limerick”.
“The project is important because it forms part of the overall regeneration of Abbeyfeale and will help provide support for local business as well as attracting business from other parts of the county and country,” he added.
“We got great back-up from the council in making our application and they were extremely helpful,” John Anthony Culhane, chairman of Glin Development Association said.
“We are very excited at the prospect of being able to tell the story of the 700 years of the Knights of Glin in the new interpretative and visitor centre.”
Siobhan Reidy, project manager for the Kilmeedy community cafe project, echoed Mr Culhane’s words.
“The council were amazing in helping us on the final application,” she said before adding: “This is fantastic news for us. The money will be used for a small extension for fire safety reasons and to ramp up production at the horticultural centre to supply the cafe. We are hoping to be open for business in April.”