Derry City Council’s £20,000 contribution towards a new urban village at the Fountain/Bogside interface and the state of disrepair into which the Tullyally community centre was allowed to fall, have been described as “disappointing” by Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey.
The Minister recently announced a £200,000 investment at the Tullyally centre whilst OFMDFM announced the investment in the Fountain.
DUP MLA Maurice Devenney asked the Minister for Social Development for an update on developments on Monday (February 2).
The Minister said: “I believe that we will have some good news regarding the Fountain. You will know that an announcement was made about an urban village, and my Department is going to work through that.
“We have provided £200,000 to meet the majority of the costs of the refurbishment of the Tullyally community centre. They say that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth.
“However, the £200,000 was a substantial investment and a lot more than the city council contributed, which was £20,000. It was disappointing that all it could find was £20,000.
“However, the work is now progressing. We will put back into the heart of Tullyally a centre that will give that community hope and a focal point where a wide variety of activities will take place.
“I was very encouraged by the work that was going on on the day that I visited Tullyally. I look forward to going back very soon when the work is completed and the building is up and is being used for the benefit of the community.”
Mr Devenney welcomed the Minister’s comments, stating: “I am delighted with the Minister’s response. I ask the Minister to come down and visit the centre when the work has been completed to see for himself the good work that will be carried out in that centre.
“It is a very vital community resource for Tullyally.”
Mr Storey said: “I thank the Member for the invitation. I am always glad to be on the road. It makes a change from being in the city.”
He added: “On a serious note in terms of Tullyally community centre, it is disappointing that it got to the point it had reached in terms of the condition of the building. I am well aware that there were huge challenges around legal issues and all that.
“I pay tribute to my staff in the North West regeneration office for the hard work they did to get us to the point where all of this has been delivered and the money was secured. I look forward to going to the maiden city and to visit Tullyally.”