Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, unveils foundation stone for the new Community Centre in Slane

A major milestone was reached on Saturday when Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, unveiled the foundation stone for the new Community Centre in Slane.

It follows the news that the community centre has received a Sports Capital Grant of €75,000 from the Meath County Council Local Amenity Project Scheme.

The construction phase has just begun, with Croft Construction the building contractor and James Shanley the project architect. The foundation stone will be built into the wall of the building as the structure is put in place.

This event was the culmination of a number of years work by a very dedicated committee, chaired by Ms. Maeve Carbin.

The need for the Community Centre was first identified by the Slane Community Forum, an umbrella group for 35 voluntary and business groups. It is located next to the local primary school and will provide a facility for children to enhance their educational experience.

In her address, the Chairperson of the Community Forum, Ms. Michele Power said ‘This is a great day for Slane, the Community Centre will be a wonderful amenity for the village’.

Michele thanked each and every member of the community that has contributed their skills and efforts to delivering the project.

Photographer: Greg O'Hara

Minister McEntee has been a supporter of this project from the beginning. Not only has she advocated for the importance of the community centre but she has been active in the fundraising efforts by participating in Strictly Come Dancing herself.

In her unveiling of the foundation stone Minister McEntee acknowledged the work of the Committee and the contribution of all of the local groups and people. She pointed out that:

“In the context of a pandemic, social cohesion is an essential consideration for rural villages and communities.

“The Community Centre in Slane will provide a place for younger and older people to gather through these difficult times and long into the future."

A project of this scale is an enormous undertaking for a small village like Slane. The contribution from local people has been spectacular and has been supplemented by a Sports Capital Grant and the recent boost of €75,000 from the Meath County Council Local Amenity Project Scheme. Councillor Wayne Harding has been a tireless campaigner for the Community Centre and played a major role convincing the Council to support this project.

Photographer: Greg O'Hara

The importance of the project has also been recognised by local businesses who have sponsored and supported the fundraising efforts.

In particular, the generous donations from Slane Castle and the owners of Slane Distillery, Brown-Forman, have been invaluable. As outlined by Alex Conyngham

“It has been important to support initiatives that are impactful and have benefit for the entire local community. The construction of a Community Centre is an ideal project and we are delighted to be helping contribute to this positive initiative in the midst of difficult times.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Wayne Harding said:

"I can't compliment Maeve and the committee enough, it has been a long eight years and it is not over, we have a lot more work to do.

"Should we be successful in the Town and Village Renewal Scheme which I hope we will be we really should be able to build the building and move it on from there and when people can see a visible sign after eight years of all of the fundraising then I think we will get the final push to deliver the centre."

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