Call to reopen vital facility used for youth activities

by Sylvia Pownall
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Local TD Gino Kenny said he had been contacted by a number of local parents, groups and organisations representing children with special needs who were shocked by the changes.

A CENTRE used for youth activities in an area of disadvantage and exclusion in Clondalkin has been closed due to an electrical fault – for more than a year.
The Balgaddy unit was purpose-built for the community but has lain idle for the past 16 months despite having been well utilised by youth services agency Crosscare.
TD Gino Kenny (PBP) has called for urgent action to reopen the building in Tor an Ri, warning that depriving young people of a vital amenity is leading “at risk” teenagers astray.
He told The Gazette: “There’s a lot of very vulnerable young people in that area. When young people have nothing to do that is when they get into trouble and go down the wrong path.
“Reopening that facility to me is a complete no-brainer.”
Deputy Kenny raised the issue in the Dail with Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone and warned that urgent action was needed to address youth needs in the area.
She replied that nearby Ronanstown Youth Service, which is operated by Crosscare, provides “a range of services to at-risk young people in Balgaddy”.
The Minister added: “I am aware that the service’s Balgaddy youth unit is temporarily closed as a result of an electrical fault and that every effort is being made to resume service provision.”
However Deputy Kenny says South Dublin County Council have put the project on the long finger – and that services in another parish cannot replace youth activities which had been running three nights a week in the heart of the local community.
He said: “South Dublin County Council have been dragging their feet for over a year now. Crosscare want to get back into it, they were engaging with the young people in the area. If there’s any area in south Dublin that is very vulnerable and very run down it is that area in Balgaddy.”
In response to a query from The Gazette, the council said: “The council has been proactive in reopening this unit for use and has had discussions with Dublin Dun Laoghaire Educational Training Board relating to the issues surrounding the delays in doing so which are not of the council’s making.
“The delay is mainly due to an electrical wiring issue and has been resolved and work is in train. It is hoped to have it available in the coming weeks.”

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