independent

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Terrible blow may kickstart push for new home - Minister

Minister Simon Harris with Cllr Irene Winters, Anne King and Marian O’Rourke at the scene on Friday
Minister Simon Harris with Cllr Irene Winters, Anne King and Marian O’Rourke at the scene on Friday

Mary Fogarty

Minister Simon Harris paid a visit to Lakers on Friday after the building was gutted by fire.

'The value of the service is known by everybody throughout the community,' he said. 'Hundreds of service users depend on Lakers for classes, for social recreation and for sport. This is just devastating. So much has been invested in Lakers, and fundraised throughout the community.'

'I'm encouraged already by the huge generosity of the community, people offering alternative venues and transport,' he said. 'I'm really appealing to people to do that while things like insurance kick in. I'll do everything I can as a minister to help provide funding for equipment and the likes. In the interim, we need the community to pull together for a group of people who need this vital service.

'I have no doubt that it's going to happen. It's very encouraging amidst real sadness and shock to hear of people stepping forward to help.'

He said that this now has to be the impetus to deliver a new home for Lakers.

'If something good can come out of this terrible situation I hope it is that. That we get a permanent, new purpose built home for Lakers.'

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