An emergency public meeting of the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre in Tipperary Town has been called for Monday next, May 21st, after widespread concerns were expressed for the future of the Centre at a Management Committee meeting held last Monday night.
Centre Chairman Martin Quinn said that the centre was 'at a crossroads' and without public and Government support the future for the facility was indeed 'very bleak'.
There has been a disappointing uptake in a members draw to start later this month and without that funding is believed that the centre cannot survive.
Mr Quinn said that over the past 16 months the committee worked very hard to keep the centre open while coping with the enormous running and insurance costs as well as tackling many urgent maintenance issues.
He said - “We have done all that while also investing in, and providing, a new strength and conditioning facility. However these past few months have been very challenging for the centre and the designation by the Sports Capital Department that the Centre was not in a disadvantaged area, when Pobal have clearly confirmed otherwise, has been a real 'slap in the face' to efforts to our funding proposals”.
He stated that an application to the Sports Capital Department towards the upgrading of the Tennis Courts (which are closed currently) and to the upgrading of the gymnasium, was scored zero under level of disadvantaged, though the centre is in a very disadvantaged area and scores -22.74 (very disadvantaged) in the Pobal index.
He pointed out that all appeals on this have been refused and that without adequate funding to upgrade both facilities and get the tennis courts open, the centre is in immediate danger of being unsustainable.
Mr Quinn added - “It seems that every door is being closed to us as a further application to Tipperary County Council (Community facilities grants scheme) towards the upgrade of the All-Weather pitch was also unsuccessful.
“These matters along with the County Council’s unwillingness to engage in a joint membership promotion between the centre and the swimming pool (which is under Local Authority management) have made it very difficult for the centre to continue in business".
He continued - The management committee are also very concerned at the lack of uptake in the Members Club Draw, which is due to take place on Friday May 25th. The draw was a huge boost to the centre last year and enabled it to stay afloat. Without this support this year the centre can not continue to operate as further investment is urgently required in the complex, which is over 30 years in existence.
"Make no mistake about it, if our current draw has to be cancelled then this is a very serious situation for the centre. I can not stress how important it is that people get behind the centre and show support at this crucial juncture.
“It is your centre so I am therefore calling on the community to attend this very important public meeting on Monday May 21st at 8pm at the Canon Hayes Centre".