Hundreds of people are expected to attend a public meeting about a proposed mosque at a site on the Hebron Road tomorrow (Thursday) evening.
A planning application was lodged in recent weeks by the Kilkenny Islamic Centre to build a Cultural Centre at the site. The proposed development will consist of a mosque, a community hall, a library, accommodation, a Halal shop and a community cafe.
Public representatives John and Andrew McGuinness have organised the meeting in response to queries from local residents.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness said that being locally elected representatives in the area and the fact that their office is a stone’s throw from the site, many people are coming to them with queries about the application.
“It is our view that people need to know the truth and have all of the facts in relation to what is being proposed.
“People have genuine concerns and we have numerous problems in the area in terms of parking and so on, so it’s important that everything is laid on the table in a fair and transparent way and people have their opportunity to get the facts.
“We viewed the plans as soon as they were available and made contact with the applicants and the architect seeking answers to the queries we were getting.
“They then agreed to hold an information evening to provide all of the details to the local community.
“It is important that people understand the planning process and how to participate in it in order to have their concerns addressed.”
Imam Ebrahim Ndure explained that the Kilkenny Islamic Centre have gathered for the past ten years at a rented property on the Freshford Road and that the board have now decided to apply to build a mosque and cultural centre.
“The proposed centre will provide services not only to the Muslim community but also to the community at large.
“At present there are approximately 500 members of the Islamic Community living in Kilkenny. Most of these people are professionals who play an important role in the socio-economic life of the city,” said the Imam, adding that he was ‘shocked and terrified by some of the hate speech on social media’.
The meeting is from 6.30 to 8.30pm in the O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club. Plans can be seen in County Hall on John Street. The closing date for objections is April 19.