by ehistoryadmin on May 29, 2015

Leinster Leader 7 September 1974

Community hall is a gift – almost

Thanks to the generosity of Bord na Mona, the village of Coill Dubh, Co. Kildare, now has a splendid community centre, a source of rejuventation of social life in the region.  It was officially opened by Mr. Lyal G. Collen, Chairman, Bord na Mona.  The village was crowded and en fete for the occasion.

            Coill Dubh, built for Bord na Mona workers, has 160 houses, and four shops, and there are 1,000 living there.  The workers are employed on the Timahoe bog, which produces 185,000 tons of sod peat, most of which goes to the ESB power station at Allenwood.

            The community centre was built with the co-operation and assistance of the Parent Teacher Association to provide a cultural, educational and recreational centre for the residents.  The village is one of eight provided by Bord na Mona for workers on bog development schemes.

            Although the hall is owned by the Board, an executive committee of the Coill Dubh P.T.A. has been appointed to manage and maintain it.

             The blessing ceremony was performed jointly by V. Rev. Mulvihill, PP, Staplestown-Cooleragh, and the Ven. B.L. Handy, Archdeaon of Kildare, Millicent, Sallins.  In the attendance were Deputies Bermingham, Power and Malone and local Councillors;  Mr. E. M. Murray, Co. Manager,  Mr. Louis Rhatigan, Managing Director, Bord na Mona; Mr. A.D. Sheahan, Secretary;  Mr. P. Cogan, General Manager, Mr. C.B. Murphy, Sales Manager, Mr. J.R. Collins, Personnel Officer, and Messrs. F. Barron, W. Maher and V.P. Brke, Bord na Mona.  The attendance also included Co. Librarian Mr. S. O’Conchubhair, Naas, whose efforts in providing a library service for Coill Dubh were praised.

            Representatives of the local Committee, who raised a contribution of £3,000 towards the work included Messrs. P. Hickey, L. Delaney, I. Kane, Tony Killeen, Harry O’Donovan and Mrs. K. Kane.

            Mr. Collen, addressing the huge attendance, warmly praised the local contribution, a magnificent achievement for a community of such size.  He said that amongst those who responded speedily to the local need was Mr. Aengus Sheahan, Bord na Mona’s Secretary, who was due to retire on September 1. Mr. Collen said that in listing the needs of rural Ireland,  community halls should have a high priority.

            He said “We tend to turn on the TV set and let ourselves be hammered into some form of person, by exposure to the black box.  TV is a tremendous thing, but only about 10 per cent of what we see is worthwhile.  Unless we become aware of this drug attacking our minds we can become stereotyped persons, all cast in the same mould”.

            He felt sure that the new hall would play a major part in keeping local traditions alive.  It would be available to many organisations.  The Committee should be jealous of it and put the toughest member in charge of the fabric, but they should also be generous in offering it for the use of people within a ten to fifteen-mile radius.

            Fr. Mulvihill praised Bord na Mona and all responsible for providing such a magnificent centre for the village.  It would help in no small way to knit together a new parish, which was being spared the expense of providing a hall.  It would be a centre for all the community, and not a parish hall.  The overall cost was in the region of £50,000, of which the local contribution was a relatively small amount.

            He continued; “I wish to endorse the words of the Chairman in thanking the local group of enthusiastic and tireless workers dedicated to serving the community.  They raised the money through carnivals, raffles, etc., and when they started they could not see the end of the road.  Today their worries and labours are forgotten; the end of the road is reached, but there is still plenty of work to be done.  Someone has said “We can take off our hats to the past, but we must take off our coats to the future”.  I wish to thank the Chairman, General Secretary, executives and personnel at the highest level in Bord na Mona.  I have no doubt that they were influenced by the determination and sincerity and character of our local active group who first approached them.

            Bord na Mona had shown an interest in people, and the hall would stand as a memorial to that interest.  He concluded by wishing God’s blessing on the hall and its future varied activities.

            Mr. Paul Hickey, who acted as M.C., on behalf of the committee, joined in the tributes to Bord na Mond, and said nothing would have been possible were it not for their full co-operation, technically and financially.

            He appealed to all residents to ensure that the hall was fully protected from damage so that it might serve as a powerful amenity.  He asked parents to encourage their children to become involved in wholesome activities which would be organised.

            He conclude by thanking the Co.Council for setting up a library, and members of past committees and his colleagues in the present group, with particular mention of Mr. Harry O’Donovan.  His final tribute to Mr. Sheahan and good wishes on his retirement drew prolonged applause.

            The local children’s band, directed by Mrs. L. Delaney, provided vocal and instrumental entertainment, and one of the numbers, “Congratulations”, was dedicated to Bord na Mona for their generosity to the community.  A reception followed at Coill Dubh School.

 Re-typed by Mary Murphy

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