The Attic’s wait for capital funding is ‘disgraceful’

Foroige Volunteers from Longford at the 45th Foroige Volunteers Annual Conference which took place recently. Front row L-R: Ruth McGarry Quinn and Carmel Norton. Back row L-R: Padraig Smyth, Joe Quinn, and Dean Connolly.
Longford’s Attic Youth Café will learn ‘shortly’ if it is to receive capital funding that it applied for back in 2013.

Longford’s Attic Youth Café will learn ‘shortly’ if it is to receive capital funding that it applied for back in 2013.

According to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy, Attic leaders were “assured by a Government TD that they had been approved for funding” and on that basis, they made certain plans.

In February, the sod was turned on the exciting new Attic House project at the Ballinalee Road in Longford town, and Phase 1 of the project will be completed thanks to the provision of €60,000 by Longford Town and County Councils, while the hugely successful ‘Longford Goes Strictly Dancing’ event raised €67,500 for the Attic House and Temperance Hall.

In 2013, €1.5 million was made available by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for a Youth Café scheme and of the 95 applications received, 30 were approved.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, responding to a Dáil question on Tuesday of last week from Deputy Troy, pointed out that the application by the Attic Youth Café was “deemed ineligible”.

Minister Reilly said representations on behalf of the Attic project have been received in his Department.

“Officials have engaged with the relevant stakeholders and have examined all aspects of the Attic’s application for funding under the 2013 Capital Scheme. The outcome of this examination will be communicated to the project shortly,” outlined Minister Reilly.

There is no new capital fund for the development of youth cafés in 2015.

The Attic’s failure to secure Government funding has been a source of much frustration and anger.

Attic Leader Ruth McGarry Quinn said previously, “We purchased the building (Ballinalee Road) in May 2013 and we had hoped we were going to get funding in 2013 and again in 2014, but that didn’t happen. We’ve had many promises but as you know, nothing came of these promises.”

Deputy Troy said the Attic has been left waiting two years for funding, they were told had been approved, to be released. “All they have received are rejection letters quoting that the funding had been otherwise allocated.”

Deputy Troy added, “It is disgraceful that a community organisation can be left waiting in this manner. They have significant overheads and are in the process of trying to improve their facilities. The Government needs to address this issue once and for all without further delay.”

Longford Youth Service receives annual funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and this year €74,651 has been allocated.

Meanwhile, Ms McGarry Quinn, Carmel Norton, Padraig Smyth, Joe Quinn and Dean Connolly represented Longford at the 45th Annual Foróige Volunteers’ Conference. The conference celebrated the importance of volunteerism, with delegates hearing that 403,108 volunteer hours powered the work of Foróige in one year alone.