LOCALS were encouraged to make the revamped Millennium Centre in Caherconlish a “real face to face (book) place” at its official opening.
“Meet in the flesh, shake hands, chat, banter, hug and kiss, laugh, dine, drink, make music and dance together,” urged chairman of Caherconlish/Caherline Community Centre, Eddie O’Gorman.
Fr Pat Currivan cut the ribbon, while Fr Roy Donovan did the honours in the adjoining playground. The Millennium Centre was opened at the end of 1999, hence the name.
“From the day the doors were first opened the centre has been a great focal hub for the whole area and a hive of activity in sports, recreation and education.
“It has continued to develop with the addition of a full commercial kitchen, a computer training room, a new children’s playground. The tennis club has been revived to its former glory and is back in action due to very active and able subcommittees.
“Now we have this new two storey extension up and running with a very attractive reception lobby; three large meeting rooms and a cosy lounge bar,” said Mr O’Gorman.
The work cost close to half a million euros. Ballyhoura granted €351,521 which means the community council has a shortfall of €120,000 with fundraising ongoing.
Mr O’Gorman said the new and improved centre is in keeping with the recent transformation of the entire Caherconlish/Caherline area.
“Our place never looked so clean, colourful and vibrant as it is today - the homes, streets, businesses, schools, sports fields, churches, monuments, graveyards, tennis club, playground and of course the Millennium Centre are all in great shape.
These improvements have lifted our spirits and given us all a great sense of pride in our own place. We really appreciate the huge amount of time and effort put in by the local residents work group, Gateway workers, tennis club committee, playground group and the staff and volunteers here in the Millennium Centre who have made all this happen,” said Mr O’Gorman.
The fantastic facility exists because of the good will and dedication of a large number of volunteers who served on the board and committees and did a huge amount of physical work to get the building up and running, he added.
Mr O’Gorman paid tribute to all the founder members and those no longer with us including stalwart promoter Tony O’Connell who passed away recently.
“The great effort made by all concerned from the outset and all along the way was, and is, a great example to the younger generations who will surely take up the running and continue the good work towards the next millennium!” he said.
In his speech on Sunday, Mr O’Gorman thanked politicians; Limerick City and County Council; Ballyhoura and their local staff; David Leahy Architects; Gerard Coffey Architectural Services; building Company Gildoc Ltd and all the agencies and organisations who have helped them on their journey.
“And finally a special word of thanks is due to all the current staff and volunteers here at the centre who have worked so hard and put in many long, extra hours getting this whole campus looking its best for today and every day,” said Mr O’Gorman.
The centre is a hive of activity every day of the week not only in Caherconlish but in wider East Limerick due to its central location. Everything from children’s parties to concerts to work presentations to five a side soccer are held there.
It all boils down to a local community version of what President Kennedy might say if he was ever here.
“Ask not what my community can do for me but rather ask what can I do for my community,” said Mr O’Gorman.