By Ronan Dodd
A decision by North Tipperary VEC to make its new facilities at Nenagh Vocational School open to the general public was welcomed by committee members at the board’s January meeting.
CEO David Leahy described the school’s new PE hall as a “huge facility that will be there for the town”. The hall will open this September.
“We only need it 165 days a year, from 8am to 5pm. After that is will be open to the community. We don’t need money, we will just look to cover expenses because the public will already have paid the E5m to open it. They are entitled to use it,” he said.
The decision was a “very generous offer”, said Cllr Seamus Morris, who pointed out that a lot of facilities in Nenagh closed at 5pm.
“Every club in Nenagh is bursting at the seams. As a town council, we want to re-engage with the VEC and make facilities available to the community,” he said.
Cllr Conor Delaney pointed out that some clubs in the town had to travel to the University of Limerick for facilities.
“This is an opportunity we shouldn’t let pass. It would be foolish not to look into it,” he said.
Cllr Virginia O’Dowd told the meeting the decision was “sending out the right message. This is the kind of model we should be using in the present climate. It is also a good message that the VEC is only looking for costs. There was a time when education and councils did not speak, but that has now changed. This is a model that needs to be repeated.”
Cllr Ger Darcy pointed out that clubs in areas around the town also needed facilities as they, too, were travelling to Limerick for space, and asked if the all-weather pitch at the school could be incorporated into any proposal to make facilities avaialble to the general public.
Mr Leahy told Cllr Jonathan Meaney that any group or club using the facility would have to provide their own insurance and would need to show proof that they were covered by insurance.