The new Community Heritage Centre in Carrigart was officially opened yesterday by An tAire Stáit Joe McHugh, TD following an overall Capital Investment of €165,168 from LEADER and the local community.
Donegal Local Development Company through the ‘Village Renewal & Development’ measure of the Leader Programme contributed funding of €123,875 to the project with the hard working Moving Mevagh Forward committee contributing a total of €41,293 in match funding from both Benefit-in kind and the support of the Mevagh Voluntary Fire Service.
Speaking at the event, An tAire Stáit Joe McHugh, said it was a privilege to be part of such a positive project.
“Over the years I have witnessed first hand the hard work Moving Mevagh Forward have done and the positive ripples that can be felt right throughout the community as a result. Today’s announcement is further proof of this commitment, a massive achievement and one that should be commended by all. I also welcome the contribution by the Donegal Local Development Company in recognising these efforts and supporting their continuation into the future with this funding.
“The Leader Programme was established for this exact purpose – to help rural communities who have braved harsh challenges over the past number of years and yet have managed to persevere and grow. And as the economy slowly begins to improve, this now needs to be felt on the ground and at a local level and I have no doubt that the group will continue to help and improve their community with the help of this funding.”
Representing the local committee, Noel Mc Bride explained that Moving Mevagh Forward is a community, voluntary and not for profit group of people, interested in improving the social, economic and cultural life of the parish of Mevagh.
He said that “in addition to progressing its own projects, MMF acts as a hub to co-ordinate the activities of the very many community, sporting and special interest groups in the area for the benefit of local population and visitors. The provision of the Mevagh Community Heritage Centre coincides with the aims of Moving Mevagh Forward and will benefit the people of the parish and surrounding areas”
He then went on to thank Margaret and Hugo Boyle for providing the site for this project, the DLDC Board, for providing the funding for this project under the Leader Programme, the professionalism of their staff, for their knowhow and guidance throughout the project.
He also thanked John Paul Gorman, accountant for drawing up the business plan, UCIT for providing the loan facility to allow draw down of funding and Francie McHugh FMH Planning Architect, McHugh Bros Construction, for constructing this fine building where the workmanship is second to none and finally the Mevagh Voluntary Fire Service who provided financial and voluntary assistance to complete this project.
Representing LEADER and also speaking at the launch, Patrick Sweeney, Board Director of Donegal Local Development Company Ltd said DLDC is delighted to be associated with the Mevagh Heritage Centre and was very pleased to assist with LEADER funding for this very impressive community facility.
He stated that “this project is an excellent example of how funding for community initiatives can improve the quality of life and benefit local areas”. He congratulated the local committee for their vision, energy and commitment in developing this facility. He also said that he wished to acknowledge the overall successful partnership that staff of DLDC enjoyed with the committee, the land owner and UCIT.
The centre comprises of a themed Fire Station type Museum and related facilities. It features several new and not so new fire-fighting samples of equipment collected during the 30 years’ experience of the voluntary fire service in the area. The centre will also be home to the existing voluntary Mevagh Fire Station and its volunteers who will occupy the Enterprise Space within.
Overall the new Centre will complement the existing collection of traditional vintage farming equipment, implements and rural antiques which are displayed at the nearby Teach John Mhicí Bán traditional two-story house and farmyard. The layout of the house and its contents also convey a sense of life on the farm in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.