Newcastle Scouts group furious after Church throws them out of den they spent thousands renovating

The parish council plan to let the den out as a commercial property in January.

A scout group in a west Dublin village are facing a crisis after they were told by the local parish to vacate their den by the end of the year.

The 3K1C Newcastle Scouts group have been based in the old national school in Newcastle village for the past three years.

The group have spent time and money upgrading the facility but have been told by the local parish council, who own the building, that the den is to be rented out as a commercial property when the lease is up on December 31.

Local parents have expressed outrage at the decision.

One parent, writing on the Save Our Scouts 3K1C Newcastle Facebook page said: "To say we as parents as dumbfounded and devastated by the news that our kids and the community will be losing this space (it's be be used as a commercial enterprise) cannot be understated.

"We want a safe space for our kids to go to learn important life skills, somewhere to meet friends and socialise.

"If this is lost, we won't get it back. We have no legal representation, no money to buy a building, nowhere to go if we have to leave here."

Another parent, Hillary Collins, three sons aged between eight and 17 who are members of the troop.

The concerned mum told Dublin Live that her children have gained valuable life skills from being involved in scouting.

She said: "Our boys aren't into GAA, they're not interested in soccer, they're not interested in rugby so this is a really valuable outlet for them to get out and about and exercise."

Parents and scout leaders have become frustrated with the lack of communication from the parish council.

"The church aren't engaging," said Hillary.

"People have gone down to the parish priest and he's refused to engage.

"To tell any type of voluntary group, but especially a group that deal with children a week or two towards the start of December 'your lease is out, I want you gone and I want you gone by the end of December', when you have Christmas in between."

A meeting held last night at the scout den was attended by parents, local representatives and the auctioneer charged with letting out the property.

"When the scout troop took it over, there was anti-social behaviour," said Hillary.

"People were going into the back of the hall, drinking smoking, broken glass, broken windows.

"We took it over and we fundraised for heating, we fundraised to upgrade the toilets.

"I asked last night at the meeting if there was any consideration given to that and I was told, 'if you want to take the radiators with you, you can'. Who talks like that to people?

"We've also got thousands of Euro worth of equipment in the den that needs to be stored in a dry and warm place because if it gets any bit of damp, it's ruined."

The devout Catholic added that she has been "disgusted" by the actions of the Church.

"I want to stay in the Catholic faith and one man's action or the parish council's action is not reflective of the whole institute.

"I'm the one that's always defending the Church, you have to be respectful of people's beliefs, but this is just disgusting. It's a step too far."

Dublin live have contacted Newcastle Parish Council for comment.

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