An historic community venue in Manorcunningham officially reopened yesterday 29th January following a massive €180,000 renovation project.
Built in the middle of the last century, the venue is one of 17 Orange halls which remain in regular use in County Donegal, but developed problems in recent years due to the age and wear of the building. During extensive reconstruction, the hall was stripped to its bare walls and carefully rebuilt while the kitchen and bathroom facilities were also overhauled.
Donegal Local Development Company through the Leader Programme contributed funding of €74,886 with the International Fund for Ireland providing €60,000 towards through its Maximising Community Space Crossing Borders Programme.
Speaking at the launch Jim Slevin, Chairman of at Donegal Local Development Company Ltd. said:
“This has been a fantastic project which has the potential to deliver long-lasting outcomes for local communities and the wider areas. The regeneration is not just about renewing the building, but also strengthening community relations. The aim of LEADER is to encourage rural communities to plan for their long term sustainability and this Renovation Project is an excellent example of such a community initiative. The venue provides an important cross-community facility that respects the history and backgrounds of those who use it and underpins efforts to create a shared future. It will have an important role in building secure and sustainable relationships that will benefit everyone for years to come.”
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said the refreshed venue offered a modern, vibrant facility for all quarters of the local community. “This is a wonderful venue that will underpin a range of community and cross-community activities that promote good relations and community integration. The cross-community activities align with the Fund’s objectives of delivering sustainable, long-term positive impacts that can transform communities and underpin peace building and reconciliation efforts. “This venue shares many links with Manorcunningham Resource Centre, which we also supported in the past. Together they illustrate the Fund’s strategy of promoting peace and reconciliation by bringing people together to improve confidence and capacity, dispel fears and remove barriers to understanding. There is great support for the wider use of spaces like this and I wish Manorcunningham Orange Hall every success for the future.”
Philip Browne, Chairman of Manorcunningham Orange Hall management committee, said the completed venue will host a wide range of community and cross-community activities and called for interested groups and individuals to get in touch. “The Orange Hall has been a part of Manorcunningham for more than 60 years and served its function very well hosting meetings, pipe band practice, bowls and other events. We’re pleased that people from the across the community are already making enquiries and our bookings diary is filling up with events and activities. This is a facility for all and it is open to everyone to use. I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in finding out more to get in touch with us.”
He added: “Without the financial assistance of the Donegal Local Development Company Ltd, and the International Fund for Ireland, none of this would have been possible and we thank them for their involvement and commitment.”