This is a very important day in the history of Dunleer for a number of reasons
- These lovely buildings and site have been given a new lease of life and now they return to their rightful place at the centre of this community
- The work here reflects the commitment of a group of people, to restoring our treasures and respecting the work done by a generation gone before us
- Provides a resource for Dunleer and Mid Louth
Background to Market House restoration project Dunleer
Following research completed in 2006 by our board, a number of buildings in this town were identified as worthy of renovating, one being this site.
The Board held a meeting with LCC County Manager in October 2009. Supporting us at the meeting were all of the local public Representatives, Dunleer Parish Credit Union and Dunleer Parish Priest.
The county manager informed all present that while the site was in the ownership of the local authority, the Council had no funds to develop the site. The Council would however do what it could to partner with the community of Dunleer to restore the building and leave it available for use. The board members present proposed to the manger that if the authority would commit to a ninety nine year lease of the building to the community for a nominal sum, then the board would invest in renovating the buildings, the manager agreed to this proposal and the program started.
Mr Joe McGuiness of LCC was appointed to work with us and I would like to thank you Joe, for your partnership with us since the beginning, helping us get to the point we are at today, and also the Chief Executive of LCC Joan Martin for your support of our board and this project since you have taken office.
Funding and planning for the project
Faced with the daunting task of restoring this iconic building, a significant challenge was the costs of restoration.
Following a presentation to Mr. Martin Naughton, President of Glen Dimplex, the board of Glen Dimplex committed to contributing €200,000 towards the project. Glen Dimplex has also provided an Air Source heating system for the buildings which was developed by the company, and you can view this as you walk around the buildings
While this was a significant financial and technical commitment, it also delivered a strong message of confidence and trust by you Mr Naughton in the members of our board and the community of Dunleer, this message of confidence was very important when we as a board were communicating with other stakeholders.
Your support on this and many other projects within this community is enormous but also for so many years your company has been a key engine of growth for Ireland and created significant employment opportunties for so many here in Dunleer in manufacturing and R&D and also brings a rich diversity of people from other parts of Ireland and many Countries to our town to work and live, you have been a life line for this Town and we all want to thank you for this.
Regarding other stakeholders, I would like to thank Louth Leader Partnership for their commitment of €200,000 towards the project, and the employees of the partnership who helped us steer through the process.
Since its inception Dunleer Parish Credit Union has helped families and small business in this community to get access to funds, and they have supported us on this project from the very beginning. On behalf of the DCDB I wish to thank you for your moral and financial support.
I also wish to thank our public representatives; Local Councillors and TDs many of whom are here today, for your significant help in supporting our efforts on this project and smoothing out some of the challenges we faced over the past four years.
Considering that the site and buildings are protected structures, there was a commitment from all of those involved to ensure that the architectural integrity of the buildings were respected and enhanced.
I would like to thank all of those involved in delivering such a fine finish, all of the tradesmen and women that worked on the site, Vincent & Philomena Mathews of V&P Developments Dromin for ensuring such a high standard of work, Damian and Shane from Wheritys Architects, Richard McLoughlin from Lotts Conservation architects & Joseph McEvoy Architectural Technologist. Pat Kiernan, Michael Lynch and Marie O Brien from Glen Dimplex and also the Local authority Planning and Conservation departments.
I would also like to thank our restoration team- Mary Rose Rafferty, Sandra Stokes McCullough, Edel Byrne, Lillian and Joseph McEvoy, Gerry Hoey, Kyran McGrory, Francie Marry and Tony Mallon. Also I would like to thank our administration team who are part of the Dunleer CE scheme, the CE scheme lead by Eugene Lane has contributed enormously to this community I would like to thank them and Margaret Cranny and John Evers from Dept of Social protection for your support.
As you are all aware for a project like this budget management is critical, and I would like to say a special word of thanks to Tony Mallon our treasurer who kept the investment and us in good order, helping us achieve our budget and objectives.
Use of the Market House
This centre is very suitably located within County Louth, with a beautiful garden and courtyard that are suitable for many uses and enhance what Dunleer has to offer. The rooms within the buildings are finished to a very high standard, with modern facilities including WIFI access and LCD projection. The facilities are available to all within the mid Louth area, it is not just for community or voluntary groups but is also available for private use, and use by business operating in the area and available for provision of services and supports by Government and Non-Government organizations, for people of all ages and needs. The courtyard and gardens are very suitable for many outdoor events. So please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in using these facilities.
While the funding outlined earlier has been of significant help, we are still in debt and are seeking the support of the people of Dunleer to pay this off, so any private donations etc will be gratefully received. Also on tomorrow night, we will host a fundraising event of an evening of music, in the courtyard.
The Board has been in place since 1998 working on a number of social and community projects. A number of former board members are here today and I wish to thank them for their work over the years and their support for this project, Dickie Kieran, Eugene Mathews, Margaret McConnoran, Barry Brennan and Helen Larkin-Donnelly. I would also like to remember our deceased members Johnny Brennan and Michael King.
Future focus of the board:
I have been struck by the number of people from outside Dunleer that comment “Dunleer is a thriving Town and Community” and this is true and great to be apart of. This board consists of members elected by the groups and organisations affiliated to it and while we are conscious that this is a very active and collaborative community with a richness of voluntary activity, we feel that this can be built on and developed even further, to leverage greater benefits for each organisation and our community in general.
All of us involved in this project are very proud of what has been achieved here. It has been a partnership between, community, business and local authority. But it is important to recognise that the key ingredients required for such a partnership to flourish are:
- Understanding and respecting different views that will come from working with different organisations
- a solutions focused mindset by all
- the resilience needed to stick with a common goal and seeing this through to completion
I would like to thank you all for coming today to celebrate the opening of this wonderful building.
Eugene Conlon Chairman