'Devastation' as fire damages St Munchin’s Community Centre in Limerick

Linda Ledger, the manager of St Munchins community centre, which was damaged in a fire this Monday

Linda Ledger, the manager of St Munchins community centre, which was damaged in a fire this Monday

A FIRE has destroyed part of a northside community centre leaving it without electricity and likely unable to open this Tuesday.

There is devastation in Kileely and Thomondgate and other neighbouring parishes following the blaze at the St Munchin’s Community Centre this Monday night.

Three units of Limerick Fire and Rescue Service and the gardai were called to the fire, which is believed to have started following an electrical fault in the centre’s hair salon.

That room will require a complete refit, says volunteer Marie Galligan, sister of the centre’s manager Linda Ledger.

While the remainder of the centre is unaffected, there is no electricity following the blaze. And it is this which means it is unlikely to open this Tuesday.

Now, an appeal has been launched for electricians and other members of the community to help get the facility back up and running as soon as possible.

“At present, we are unsure as to whether or not we will be able to open our doors tomorrow to the public. We are currently trying to get our electricity back up and running and would appreciate any help from any electrical people as we need to feed our elderly people who rely so much on us everyday,” a statement from the centre said.

St Munchin’s Community Centre provides Meals on Wheels to 160 elderly people across Limerick, while 200 people descend on the Kileely Court facility each day.

Marie said that her sister was “in tears” when news came through of the fire at around 8.45pm this evening.

“This centre is there for everyone. When the flooding happened, they were the only centre able to help out. They 100% fund themselves. They get few donations, and they offer job opportunities to everyone. If anyone can give it back, they will probably pay it back ten times over once they're back up and open,” she said.

But, Marie added, centre management will ensure that some service can be provided this Tuesday.

“All staff will be called in regardless to make sure this happens. But there are a lot of elderly people who will end up home alone with nowhere to go. Sometimes they come to the centre to save on heating, or just to not be lonely,” she said, “Linda was just crying on the phone. She was totally devastated.”

Limerick City TD Maurice Quinlivan, who lives in the area, praised the gardai and the fire service for their quick response.

“It was only their quick response which prevented massive damage,” he said, “It could have been worse, nobody was injured which is the best thing. We have a great community, I’m sure people will turn out tomorrow and help us clean up the area. Kileely will rally around. St Munchin's is the heart of this community.”

Anyone who can help out the centre is asked to telephone Linda at 086-1069900.

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