Decision to privatize operation of new Community Centre at Knocknacarra must by opposed by Councillors.
See press release below
Press Release –Cllr Catherine Connolly on the 31st March 2014
Councillor Catherine Connolly deplores decision by City Manager to seek expressions of interest from Service Providers to provide management facility services at the new Knocknacarra Community Centre and also Ballinfoile.
She said the first sod has not even been turned on the proposed new centre in Ballinfoile and yet it appears that the City Manager has already decided to privatise its operation and similarly and disgracefully to privatise the operation of the new Community Centre in Knocknacarra .
Further the decision to advertise for expressions which was communicated to Councillors by email only after the decision was made by management goes completely against the wishes of the elected members.
As most people now know- it was only after a long and tortuous battle and indeed a history spanning three local elections, 5 different City Managers and/or acting City Managers and four different locations that the wonderful Community Centre in Knocknacarra was finally constructed.
Councillor Connolly said she fought for this facility every step of the way and is very proud that the Centre is now in the Cappagh Park where it should have gone the first day ever.
She said City Management however against the wishes of the Councillors have now advertised for expressions of interest on the EU Tender Site from Service Providers to provide management facility services not just for the new community centre in the Cappagh Park but also the new centre proposed for Ballinfoile.
On making enquires about this process from Council Staff, Cllr Connolly was informed that contracts of this nature over a certain threshold must be advertised on the EU site.
The closing date for receipt of expressions of interests is the 22ndApril and the City Council intend to go to tender by the 22nd May.
In this regard Cllr Connolly said while it has been made clear to Councillors that the whole process is an executive decision, clearly management is not obliged to go to tender. Furthermore she said Councillors still have moral authority and if all 15 Councillors stand together it would be very foolish of the Manager to ignore the elected members.
The community centre in the Cappagh Road and also the long awaited centre in Ballinfoile are community centres for the people and should be run by the City Council in partnership with the local community for the benefit of the maximum of people. Allowing Community Centres to be run and operated by private for profit companies makes an utter mockery of what a community centre is for.
While acknowledging that the City Council staff resources have been depleted she said there are many other community models/options open to the City Council including a combination of a FAS operated centre with local community representatives and sporting groups.
Councillor Connolly said when this matter comes before the Council in May Councillors must taken the initiative and simply refuse to cooperate with the City Manager if he proceeds to privatise the new Community Centres against the wishes of the people.
Also Councillor Connolly said she would appeal to the public to make their views known not only to their Local Councillors but also to the City Manager.