Praise for Research on Potential Multi-Million Euro Abbeyfeale Project

Maurice O’Connell (Chairperson), Kevin Kenneally (Architect/Engineer) and Trevor McCarthy (Secretary).
Paul Ward Abbeyfeale Community Council

Abbeyfeale Community Council (ACC) held a Public Presentation/Consultation on the research undertaken to date and the proposed plans for the old convent building in Abbeyfeale at the Glórach Theatre in Abbeyfeale on Thursday 28th December. ACC chairman Maurice O’Connell thanked everyone for attending on such a bitterly cold evening, especially with snow hampering travel on many of the side roads but hoped that the hot mulled wine on offer at reception when everyone arrived would keep them warm and attentive throughout the meeting.
Both Maurice O’Connell and Trevor McCarthy, secretary of ACC, began by giving a brief explanation of what Abbeyfeale Community Council was about as a community group and how it had evolved from an Association to a company limited by guarantee along with being awarded charitable status, all within 18 months from inception. This was followed by several examples of funding secured and projects completed by ACC in and around Abbeyfeale over the past 12 months. This intro helped the audience, especially those after flying in from abroad and those home on holidays from elsewhere in the country to understand the high level of professionalism that ACC operates at even if it is a voluntary organisation by name.
As the topic of Research was being presented, gasps of surprise and shock could be heard as photos of the current state of the inside of the building were being projected onto the large screen which was soon followed by numerous comments as to why no one had done anything up to now to try and save the building since its closure14 years earlier. However, this was followed by gasps of amazement when photos were shown of ultra-modern working environments in similar renovated buildings across the world and how those once empty and decaying building are now the Centres or Hubs for various Technology/Enterprise/Fintech/Services like companies with growing numbers of employees as the respective businesses expand. This was followed up by architectural drawings of what the Old Convent building would look like in a few years when completed. Both Maurice O’Connell and Trevor McCarthy emphasised how important it is to realise that there are three very important aspects to this one project – the saving of an iconic building, the creating of jobs for Abbeyfeale and its wider community and the ongoing growth within the local economy as a result of having such a project and new employment in place.
Maurice and Trevor then continued to explain the financial breakdown of both renovation costs and expected revenue. The overall cost of €3-€3.5 million to complete such a large-scale project was seen as something never attempted before by anyone in Abbeyfeale. Maurice O’Connell then explained that most of this funding would come from the larger Agencies but around 10% or €300,000 would need to be raised locally in order to show the directors of these funding agencies that those living in and around the Abbeyfeale area are supportive of such a project, but just as importantly that they have the foresight and the vision to understand the vast potential of the expected annual €600,000 to be generated from this site once it is completed.
The most proactive feedback quietly came from a number of individuals after the meeting had concluded with some very positive ideas on how to expedite such a valuable project.
Both Maurice and Trevor were delighted at the length of time it took after the presentation to bring to a close the discussion and comments/ideas raised. It proved the level of interest and passion that is out there for both the saving of the convent building and the real need for new types of employment to be brought into the Abbeyfeale area.