A public plea to pay the bills on a village hall in Laois is getting a massive response, with thousands donated within days.
The community hall is in Ballyroan near Portlaoise, where the local committee have been unable to raise money to pay for insurance.
With Covid-19 forcing the closure of the hall for over 500 days now, it has lost its income from groups renting the hall but running costs continued.
Facing the risk of the vital community building remaining closed, local resident Conor Sweeney launched a Gofundme account. Within four days, it has reached almost €2,000.
Conor explains what the hall means to Ballyroan.
"The community hall has been a fantastic resource for the people of Ballyroan and surrounding areas for many years. It has hosted meetings, sporting events, weekly bingo, parties, playgroups and some memorable plays by a wonderful drama group. One of the many realities of Covid has been that community halls like our own have been closed for over 500 days.
"A valuable funding stream from all of the activities that usually take place in it has not been possible to allow us to keep the finances of the hall on a sound footing. The committee has dug deep over the last 18 months to ensure that all of the costs associated with maintaining a wonderful facility like our hall have been met so that the hall can be ready for opening when guidelines allow for indoor activity."
Conor who is the son of Fine Gael county councillor Mary Sweeney, said that the committee tried to get Government grants but had no luck and now face a whopping bill.
"We have pursued a number of grants and funding streams to no avail and the current reality is that we have an insurance bill for over €2,500 for the coming year. Now more than ever we need the support of the community to ensure that we can keep running the hall and that it is financially viable once the restrictions are eased.
"We would be grateful if you could donate whatever you can afford and share the GoFundme page with your friends and family to allow them to do the same. It would be very much appreciated," he said.
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