Northern Ireland

Plans to transform disused boxing club into thriving Irish-language hub

dark background and a pair of red boxing gloves
dark background and a pair of red boxing gloves An old boxing club could be transformed into an Irish language hub

Campaigners are hoping to transform a disused boxing club in into a thriving Irish-language community hub.

Cairde Uí Néill established the first Irish-medium school in Co Tyrone, Gaelscoil Uí Néill, in 1992, and continues to provide financial support for the sector, through the purchase of temporary classrooms and other facilities.

It has also developed a pre-nursery and after-school services, helps deliver Irish classes in an area of social deprivation and also offers a breakfast club and coffee mornings for parents and toddlers.

Addressing the development committee of Mid Ulster District Council, Cairde Uí Néill representatives said they needed £50,000 from the local authority to help deliver community hub plans.

It has proposed developing an old boxing club on the Washing Bay Road.

Seamus Ó Gealbháin explained: “We lack a central hub that we can call home, that people in the area will know is the base for all of the Irish-language activities that we we offer.

“Regarding regeneration of the area, it would bring that part of the town back together, supporting the work that has been done already by council to reinvigorate the canal area of Coalisland, and this would be situated perfectly at the very start of that canal walk.”

The total value of the project is estimated to be £400,000.

Committee chariman and Sinn Féin councillor John McNamee said Cairde Uí Néill was doing brilliant work throughout Mid Ulster.

“You have had good support around this chamber. I wish Cairde Uí Néill all the best going forward with your community hub.”

He said council officers would be in touch as to the best way forward about funding.