Residents' Protest outside City Hall tomorrow (Mon) on new Sports & Community Centre

Many thanks to all those residents and supporters that took part in the packed meeting of local residents called to discuss the Ballinfoile-Castlegar Sports and Community Neighbourhood Centre on November 30th in the Menlo Park and who attended the action committee gathering on Monday last. The attendance at both events was a great morale booster to all campaigners!
Packed residents' meeting in Menlo Park Hotel
The next step in our campaign is to ensure that we have a good turnout on our peaceful protest that will take place at 2.30pm (to 4pm) tomorrow (Monday December 14th) outside City Hall in advance of a crucial meeting of Galway City Council when the management structure of the centre will be voted upon.
It is a now-or-never scenario for us on this key facility. So please if you are available make every effort to attend and encourage others (family, friends and neighbours) to take part. Even if you are not from our area, we would appreciate your support as this issue is about ensuring that every citizen of Ireland has a basic right to community and recreational facilities which is increasingly threatened due to the draconian cutbacks to public services as a result of the last government’s decision to force taxpayers to pay for the gambling debts of a rich well connected elite of bankers and property speculators.
Protestors from Ballinfoile, Tirellan, Sandyvale, Castlelawn district protesting outside City Hall in 1989
We as concerned residents are demanding that councilors ensure that the new state-of-the-arts sports and community complex that we fought for since 1987 to obtain serves the needs of and is controlled by the local community.
After the welcome news last September that the government had agreed to allow Galway City Council to break the local government jobs embargo in order to hire staff for the centre, it was disheartening to hear at last month's council meeting, called to decide the city budget for 2016, that only 50% (€300,000) of the finance needed to operate the centre (& that of Knocknacarra) as a fully fledged public enterprise would come from local authority sources. For this meant, according to Brendan McGrath council CEO, that they would have to bring in an outside contractor to form a public-private partnership to run the centre. For it is our fear that this arrangement could mean that privatization could occur sooner or later to the detriment of the local community as profit would take priority over social needs.
Ballinfoile - Castlegar Sports & Community Neighbourhood Centre
So we want to ensure that councillors on Monday keep by the commitments made by Brendan Mc Grath at the November budget meeting that:
a) peak hours would be retained for local groups/individuals
b) Low rental fees would be charged to local groups/individuals
c) People from the locality must be well represented on the oversight/management board.
Furthermore we request that:
d) local community representation makes up at least 50% of the oversight board
e) the new jobs that will accrue in this facility will be given to local people where possible.
f) consideration is given to social enterprise partnership programmes as an alternative to taking in private contractors.
If these just demands are not meet, it will represent a betrayal of decades of struggle by a local community and raises questions over who our political system serve.

Finally, we are asking all residents and supporters to attend the public meeting that will take place at 8pm on Tuesday December 15th in the Menlo Park Hotel to hear what was decided at Monday’s council meeting and what actions need to be undertaken.

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