Save Killough hall group says it has huge support

Save Killough hall group says it has huge support

7 August 2019

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to plans by the Catholic Church to sell the parochial hall in Killough say they have been inundated with offers of support.

The Save Killough Community Hall Committee say they have been overwhelmed by the level of support shown by the local community and beyond.

However, the Diocese of Down and Connor says it only received four responses from parishioners during a consultation period surrounding the proposed sale which expired on June 21.

The committee were meeting last night to consider the next steps in their campaign to prevent the diocese from selling the Main Street hall, along with the parochial house, which is uninhabited, and some land nearby.

The diocese says the hall, which has not been used since January, was deemed unsafe following a health and safety audit in 2017 and a separate inspection in March this year.

It has said that proceeds from the sale would contribute towards reducing debt, which is believed to be in the region of £240,000.

The sale would also enable the parish to allocate funds for a new pastoral centre and other parish improvements.

However, campaigners have questioned whether the church authorities are legally entitled to sell the hall.

They say the hall was built with money donated by parishioners and cannot be sold without their consent.

Anne Laird-Arnold, chairperson of the Save Killough Community Hall Committee, said the hall had been the hub of the Killough community for many years.

She said many people remained utterly opposed to the church selling the facility.

“We have a lot of support behind our campaign,” she said. We have received messages from people opposed to the sale and also offers of money to help in our battle.

“We are considering what steps we will take next. This includes the possibility of getting legal advice.”

Mrs Laird-Arnold reiterated that the community in Killough would be prepared to take over the running of the hall and carry out repairs.

She added: “It is clear that the people of Killough do not want this sale to happen.”

In a letter sent to one of the parishioners, the diocese says that of the four responses it received during the consultation period three objected to the proposed sale and one was in favour.

The letter states that since 2016 all parish property has been held in Trust under a registered charity.

The letter adds: “The Trustees are lethally obliged to follow the legislation as outlined in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 which establishes the legal framework around the management and sale of any properties held in trust.”