I have been raising the issues of Hartstown Community Centre and Huntstown Community Centre at every opportunity in the Dáil, directly with An Taoiseach, and with the Minister responsible for community development.
Last week in the Dáil, the Minister for Community Development promised me that he would examine the situation in relation to the Dormant Fund Accounts. The Minister is now proposing to put into action a Dormant Accounts Action Plan for 2020, with a modest fund of €250,000 to assist in a limited number of particularly critical cases where community centres have been left, as is the case with Hartstown and Huntstown, with expensive structural works.
I certainly hope that this move in respect of the Dormant Funds Account will release vitally needed funds for Hartstown Community Centre and Huntstown Community Centre.
My Labour Party colleagues, Cllr Mary McCamley and Cllr John Walsh, have raised the issue at Fingal County Council and I understand that the Council are examining what further assistance they may be in a position to give to both community centres.
Finally, I want to congratulate both Community Centres on the work they have done to ensure that a vital community resource is maintained and continued.
You can watch my questioning of the Minister here and below. You can also read the letter from the Minister outlining his plans below.
Letter from Minister for Community Development
I want to thank you for raising this important matter, both through this correspondence and through parliamentary questions. As I outlined when responding to your parliamentary questions last week, I am aware of the situation in Hunstown Community Centre, and also in the neighboring Hartstown Community Centre, and I know how important the centers are to the people there.
As you are aware, community facilities are funded from a range of different sources across different Government Departments and agencies. For example, this Department has already provided funding to Huntstown Community Centre under both the Community Services Programme and the Community Enhancement Programme. My officials have been in discussions with Fingal County Council concerning the two centers. I am aware that both of these centers now have specific exceptional funding requirements.
As outlined last week, previously, when I was asked about the possibility of opening a national fund for the purpose of supporting community centres that have emergency funding requirements for fire safety works, I stated that, given the constraints on this Department’s voted funding, it was not possible for me to open a new line of national funding for this purpose.
However, as outlined to you last week, under the Dormant Accounts Action Plan for 2020, I have now put in place a very modest fund of €250,000 to assist in a limited number of particularly critical cases.
Given the large number of community centers across the country, it is not possible for this fund to support a national program of remediation works. However, it will allow me to make a contribution towards the costs of works in a small number of exceptionally urgent and critical cases.
In that regard, as outlined last week in response to your parliamentary question, I am currently examining what level of funding contribution can be provided to the Huntstown Community Centre and also to the neighbouring Hartstown Community Centre.