Soup kitchen gets ready for opening
DROGHEDA'S soup kitchen is expected to open its doors for the first time in the first week of September.
'We had planned for it to happen before then, but we've been working on the kitchens and, with holidays, it has taken a little longer than expected,' Mark O'Neill from the centre stated.
'We have had huge interest and "when is the opening" is the question we've been getting too,' he stated.
He said he hoped to have a formal opening to introduce the service to the community.
'It will likely happen to co-incide with the schools reopening. We want this to be a great service for those that need it,' he added.
At a recent public meeting on the centre, attended by a large number of local residents, he said the facility at Sunday's Gate would close down if it became a major difficulty for local residents.
Local councillor Frank Godfrey facilitated the meeting after complaints from nearby residents who were afraid of what the soup kitchen development in a residential area would bring.
A number said they were delighted when the former pub on the site closed as there was 'murder on the streets every night'.
But some said they were now going to be 'terrorised in their homes' with people congregating in the area.
Others said having a soup kitchen in an area where children between the ages of seven - 12 walk past was not ideal.
Mr O'Neill said he was prepared to listen to any concerns people may have.
'We do not want to disrupt anyone. If there is a problem, it will be sorted; if it continues, we will pull out. Give us six months,' he stated.
A number of speakers expressed grave reservations about the whole prospect, condemning the fact that there was little or no public consultation on the subject.
As well as the soup kitchen, there will be a cafe for people to drop in and it will be used to fund the facility.
An open day has been proposed before the centre opens.