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Not for sale! Community rallies round the Ardhowen

THE PEOPLE of Fermanagh are rallying around and preparing to fight to protect the much-loved Ardhowen Theatre, after it was revealed it may be sold off.
As reported in last week’s Herald, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are currently considering “options” of what to do with the busy theatre, as it currently has a leak in a flat roof and is in need of refurbishment.
These five options range from repairing the roof and renovating the building, to the option that has locals most worried, building a new theatre on a new site.
Since that article the Herald has been contacted by many worried locals, with some even coming up with their own suggestions for how the Council could save the iconic building.
One woman, who wishes only to be named as Patricia, has urged the community to come together and set up a “Friends of the Ardhowen” group.
She suggested that the group could, among other things, carry out fundraising to pay for the necessary repairs.
“They can pay lip service to build another one, but it’s likely to be in a terrible location,” she said.
“I think this is massively short-sighted by the Council, even if they are under pressure.
“The theatre brings in people and when they’re looking out that glass window, they are seeing Enniskillen is a great place.”
Patricia also questioned how serious the needed repairs are, stating all buildings require health and safety reports.
“Presumably [these reports] are still in issue otherwise the building couldn’t open and function normally,” she said.
Dr John Phillips was another of those who got in touch. He said the Ardhowen was “a most impressive site and indeed a most attractive jewel in Enniskillen and Fermanagh.”
He suggested that the defects in the building could be repaired, said he said he was sure local businesses would appreciated the theatre’s importance.
“Has the Council considered whether local business, having regard to the significance of the theatre for Enniskillen and Fermanagh, and the prestige of the job, might consider very competitive tenders for any repair and refurbishment work?”
Anyone who wishes to get in touch with Patricia regarding the ‘Friends of the Ardhowen’ group can do so via r.henderson@fermanaghherald.com.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA