The community of Dunlavin came together at a tea party to raise over €3,000 for the restoration of the Imaal Community Hall, following a burglary in February which caused extensive water damage.
The fundraising event will help cover the cost of repairing the hall.
Imaal Hall committee member Rachel Lynch said: “Around 140 guests were invited – all of whom were watered and fed for the evening.
“It was awesome, the community really pulled together – we had 19 tables with their own individual hosts, all of whom sold tickets to their own table, and it was a great opportunity for everyone to come together, and it was a really successful day.”
Rachel said the event had many donors with “Our neighbours, Centra, donated prosecco, and the butcher across the road, Doyles Butchers, donated a leg of lamb for the raffle. We had a lot of support from different groups in the community, offering prizes and bottles of whisky.
She added: ‘The afternoon tea allowed the room’s potential to be seen by the community as we have done a lot of renovations to the room over the last 12-18 months – we have really worked hard to brighten up the room. place. with paint, new flooring, and a lot of people hadn’t seen the room.
“It’s definitely more welcoming than before and people understood that it would be a great place to party.”
The burglary, which took place between the night of February 9 and the early hours of February 10, resulted in flooding when a water heater was removed from the room.
“The guys who broke in actually pulled a water heater out of the wall without shutting off the water supply, so it had been running for seven hours before it was discovered,” Rachel said.
“It was completely flooded and unfortunately the floor, skirting boards and everything were destroyed, so everything had to be replaced and refitted.
“Everyone involved in the room and the community was all shocked and annoyed, there was really anger about this, and we were inundated with people offering their time and money to help,” Rachel added.
Funds from a savings account were used to repair flood damage because the insurance claim process would take too long, according to Rachel.
“We wanted to quickly reopen the Seomra Hall for the Parents and Toddlers group because they were due to come back in February and the morning they opened they actually discovered that the hall had been broken into and damaged,” Rachel said. .
“Fortunately, much of the furniture was reused, as it only needed to be dried and cleaned.”
The hall suffered the majority of the flood damage, but on March 6 renovations began and on March 23 it was open for business.
In addition to the damage, several items were stolen. An Xbox and a projector are the only two items not recovered from the break-in.
“The water heater was not stolen, the people who broke in put everything they had taken in an alley – I assume they had planned to retrieve items later in the day but did not never came back,” Rachel said.
“We recovered almost everything, except the projector, which was fixed to the ceiling, which was valuable, and the Xbox. Although several residents offered to donate theirs to the room.
The investigation into the burglary and vandalism of the Imaal Hall is still ongoing, and two known suspects have been identified by the Gardai.