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06 Dec 2021

'Thriving' Laois community set to get 'great asset'

'Thriving' Laois community set to get 'great asset'

Community effort being made to deliver project by next year.

It’s full steam ahead for Ballyfin’s plans to build a new playground but a big fundraising effort will be needed to get the €65,000 project over the line by next summer.

Proceeding with the support of Laois County Council and local groups, the Ballyfin Community Development Association was successful recently in an application for CLÁR funding. 

A total of €49,499.87 was approved and the association expects to raise additional funds to meet the cost estimated at €65,000. The site proposed is in the heart of the community near the Ballyfin GAA grounds, the Parish Church and National School.

The project has the support of the Ballyfin GAA, Ballyfin Parish and the Ballyfin NS Parents’ Council. It also has the backing of the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin.

Laois County Council has also thrown its weight behind the project. The council’s CEO John Mulholland wrote a letter  of support in November after Michael Burke, Chair of the Ballyfin CDA, sought the council’s assistance on a number of points.

These include that the council undertake to manage the playground once it has been completed. As the Ballyfin CDA is committed to day-to-day maintenance, they hope that the Council agree to put in place a management agreement with Ballyfin CDA.

The Association also asked that the council consider providing public liability insurance cover that.

Cllr James Kelly, Independent,  tabled a motion about the project at the recent Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District meeting.

He called on the council, in line with Laois County Council’s Recreation policy, to offer full support and resources to Ballyfin Community Development Association for the provision of the playground.

Ms Ann Marie Maher, Sport & Leisure Officer, replied in writing.

“Laois County Council are providing ongoing support to Ballyfin Community Development Association as they further the development of their community playground. This project was recently awarded CLÁR funding and we understand that it is hoped that the project will be completed by July 2022,” she said.

Cllr Kelly said he was delighted to hear the timeframe and also that the council has written in support of the project. He said he met with Mr Burke on the site and believes he and other councillors support the project. 

“Ballyfin is thriving and this is going to be a great asset to the community,” he said.

Cllr Paddy Bracken, Fianna Fáil, was also pleased and agreed that it is an active community.

“I’m delighted that the green light has been given and Ballyfin is to get its playground,” he said. 

He was pleased that the CEO has written in support.

Cllr John King, Fine Gael, praised the community on the process they have adopted.

“Fair dues to Michael and his team...A good start and a good plan for a programme will lead to a very good ending,” said Cllr King. 

Cllr Ollie Clooney, Independent, agreed on what he said was a ‘great community’.

Cllr Conor Bergin, Fine Gael said it is a very important programme which demonstrates the importance of Clár funding from the Department of Rural Rural and Community Development. 

“Every village in Laois should have a playground. Between this and the progress being made in Ballinakill and Borris-in-Ossory we are getting closer to seeing ever small village and Laois having a playground which councillors have been looking for for years,” he said.

He praised the role of the council’s Sport & Leisure Officer in helping to advance the project.

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