Roslea folk ‘determined to take control of own destiny’


THE RESIDENTS of the wider Roslea area are taking their destiny into their own hands with their  pro-active approach to dealing with the potentially devastating threats from Brexit, population decline, and the loss of their secondary school.

The area’s local Community Forum, which takes in Roslea, Kilafoe, Coonian, and all that’s in between, has appointed a specialist consultant to engage with local community groups and organisations on their ideas for the area’s economic and social development plan for the next ten years.

Acting vice-chairman for the Forum, John Maxwell, explained the original community development plan had been developed by Quinn Consultancy several years ago, and out of that the Community Forum was established to act as an umbrella group to take in the various groups, organisations and clubs in the community.


“As an umbrella group, it could apply for funding on the groups’ behalf and push forward the development plan,” said Mr Maxwell. “Around 40 per-cent of the plan has been implemented so far.”

Mr Maxwell said the Forum had now appointed Venture I as consultants to upgrade and update that development plan.

  “With this in mind John O Neill and his team will be contacting all community, sporting and social groups  to think about matters they would like to have discussed and included in the development plans for the next ten years,” he said.

Mr Maxwell said the closure of St Eugene’s College was something that required special consideration, particularly with regard to the school building “if and when it closes next year.” He said other schools that had been shut elsewhere had fallen into disrepair, and if nothing was done “within six months it could look like a bombsite.”

“It was the biggest single public investment ever in this area, and there was a lot of money raised in the local area when it was being built,” he said. “It would be a crying shame if we sat back and did nothing with it.”

Mr Maxwell added the fall in the population in the area was also very problematic, and was having a knock-on effect throughout the area, such as in schools and sporting organisations.

“The Housing Executive built two housing estates here over the years, but they have built nothing here in the last 30-40 years. Those building projects bring life back to an area.”


Finally, Mr Maxwell said the dark cloud being cast by the Brexit fallout could also not be ignored, stating it could be “catastrophic” for the area, particularly if the border is reintroduced, and that the current uncertainty over what is happening could persist for years.

“Taking down the border gave impetus to things like our Enterprise Centre,” he said. “We can’t go backwards now.”

Mr Maxwell said “all imputs will be welcomed” in setting out the plan, and said the issues such as Brexit and St Eugene were “major concerns” but there were also “many there issues to be considered and Venture I will collate your views via individual, group and public meetings over the next few weeks.”

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