In the whole of Kilkenny city and county only one man distinguished himself by welcoming planning permission for the new mosque to be built here.
That one man is Councillor Malcolm Noonan of the local Green party. Nobody else, not even the Imam himself, Imam Ibrahim Ndure, spoke to welcome the mosque. Councillor Noonan’s speech welcoming the mosque is quoted in the Kilkenny People online newspaper.
And nobody has responded to Cllr. Noonan’s welcoming statement. He has been greeted with an awesome silence all around.
Malcolm Noonan also spoke formerly to describe the thousands of local Kilkenny residents opposed to the new mosque as “Racists and Haters” and repeated this outrageous slur on his own fellow Kilkenny citizens in The Journal.ie where he contributed a full article that largely consisted of propaganda he himself had concocted .
Councillor Noonan, a full-time singer and guitarist himself, has a following of pseudo-intellectuals, musicians in particular, in the Marble City.
It’s not known whether all of them agree with Noonan about the mosque on this occasion as their silence is palpable. They are of the set that fully welcomes the present onslaught of mass immigration here, which Noonan champions.
But they are obviously wary about welcoming the mosque and courting unpopularity amongst the thousands in the small medieval-looking Irish city that has a huge tourist industry that could be affected by a full-grown mosque on the city’s entrance road off the Dublin -Waterford motorway.
The mosque was passed last week by the Planning Office of Kilkenny County Council run by Chief Executive Planner Nicholaas Loew, a white South African expatriate and senior planner Denis Malone in a planning decision that is far from democratic in this instance, as you can see.
The decision is now to go to An Bord Pleanala in an appeal by a large group of local citizens of the Kilkenny Community Network consisting largely of citizens of the area who will be seriously affected by the mosque.
There is now, just in the last few years, a Muslim community in Kilkenny recently arrived and amounting to about 700 people, according to Imam Ibrahim Ndure. Burka’s on the medieval city streets are a regular sight.
A few good Muslim doctors in the nearby St. Luke’s hospital are arranging the financing of the mosque with collections from the local community and from Muslim people throughout the country. The sacred structure has been estimated to cost anywhere between three to five and six million Euro and there are charges from the locals opposed that this finance is coming from Saudi Arabia with the Saudis known to finance the more serious mosques.
The locals, often gridlocked into their houses during GAA matches in the local Nowlan Park, are concerned that their property values will drop while they look askance at the likes of Rochdale in England and worry that the same large scale grooming might happen here to some of their women and children from strangers congregated around the mosque. So far the the only sign of any extremists has been the appearance of the Burka and women in long black robes on the ancient city’s streets.
The city’s muslims have so far met and worshipped in a temporary mosque in a house and garden out on the Freshford Road, just up the road from the hospital, where the hospital doctors based nearby in St. Luke’s commenced worship over twenty years ago. These are become very solid citizens of Kilkenny.
There is a third group of local people who feel that the mosque would be better situated elsewhere in the Marble city , such as on the spacious Ring Road or even where the temporary mosque is out there on the Freshford Road.
Other known supporters of the mosque such as the the local Sinn Fein have remained silent since planning permission was granted, while the mayor of the city Peter Chap Cleere let it be known to The Kilkenny Journal that he is opposed to the site chosen for the mosque and with the local residents in spirit.
[Pictured: Councillor Malcolm Noonan, Mosque drawing, Eugene McGuinness, Sinn Fein councillors with Imam Ibrahim Ndure]
These Kilkenny people have no objection to the mosque, only to its proposed situation. Others oppose the massive Minaret tower stating that minarets are banned in civilized countries like Switzerland and for good reason too.
There are in fact many reasonable objections. Over forty people paid to lodge objections with the County Council while 1300 of the local residents signed, one resident per house, a petition against the siting of the mosque in the Hebron Industrial estate with the 64 foot high minaret tower dominating the skyline over the graves of loved ones in the main Christian cemetery on the approach road into this historic city of the Confederation.
The main objector, Eugene McGuinness, Chairman of the Kilkenny Community Network, and younger brother of the local Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, states that they will go to the highest courts in the land, and even the European Court of Justice in the Hague if necessary to defend their rights to continue to enjoy peaceful lives under the provisions of the Constitution and human rights laws.