plenty of local people were celebrating a new start in Portlaoise last week, when the An Treo Nua community centre, was officially opened by Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan in Knockmay.
The Kilkenny TD paid tribute to the voluntary board of management, who he said had worked very hard to ensure that the centre was delivered. The Environment Minister said that this was the way forward.
“The collaboration of agencies to help each other to achieve an objective, such as we see today, is the way forward and I encourage that,” he said.
Minster Hogan said that agencies and public representatives did not always work together, but thanking them for their co-operation, he said they achieved fantastic results.
Chairperson of the new centre’s board of management, Brian Stanely TD, reminded people of the task ahead which will be to keep the centre up and running. He noted that it would cost €60,000 a year, just to keep the lights on in the building.
“Many communities would be envious of what we have. There are communities around this constituency and other parts of the country operating out of prefabs and run down premises trying to make do with what they have. We have a brand new facility here. It’s a landmark building,” he said.
Deputy Stanley said the name of the centre, Treo Nua, which means new way, was very deliberate and a lot of thought had gone into the naming of the centre.
County Manager, Peter Carey, joined with the other speakers in paying tribute to all the agencies involved in funding the centre.
“This is an excellent example of shared services and a great model in terms of funding sources coming together,” he said.
He paid tribute to Joe Dunne, contractor and the architect Evelyn Duff, who he said put her heart and soul into the building.
Cllr Matthew Keegan, Mayor of Portlaoise, said the building was recognition of the pride in the community that exists in Knockmay. He said the future of Portlaoise Town is bright.
“This is third official opening in the town in a few weeks, the future of Portlaoise is bright. We are one of the few towns that can stand up and say we’re going forward,” he said.
Cllr Willie Aird, leas-cathaoirleach Laois County Council said he hoped the vision for Treo Nua would continue long into the future.
Speaking after the official opening of the facility, Michael Bergin, Chairman of Laois Partnership said their contribution of €150,000 was only a portion of the overall contribution of the Partnership to the project.
“While this is the largest monetary grant we have ever given it is only part of a range of supports we are dedicating to this initiative,” Mr. Bergin said. “We are providing on-going support in the shape of expert representation on the board, we facilitate the allocation of four workers under the Tus scheme and the expertise of our staff is always available in terms of supporting social inclusion work and community development.”A number of different organisations were instrumental in funding the €4million centre and continue to work from the building. These include: the HSE, the Family Resource Centre, the Family Support Agency, Laois Partnership, Pobal and Laois County Council.