Councillor Andrew McGuinness supports the Kilkenny mosque.
Cllr. Andrew McGuinness made an appearance of being neutral at the tumultuous meeting in the O’Loughlin Gaels club in April of last year, but there is now photographic evidence that he was at the temporary mosque on the Freshford road, Kilkenny, supporting the construction of the new mosque for Kilkenny at the Hebron Industrial Estate, slap bang in the middle of where all his former neighbours live. Andrew lives at Parcnagowan, Kilkenny city, these days.
Dad John McGuinness TD seems to be genuinely neutral in the matter, while Andrew’s uncle Eugene McGuinness is the chief objector to the new mosque on account of its location and the traffic hazards he maintains it would create.
The Kilkenny Journal has always maintained that the Freshford Road location of the present mosque would be the best spot to locate the new proposed mosque, that is now under planning appeal on account of objections , including that of Eugene McGuinness, with Bord Pleanala .
Well at least this now simplifies matters in the upcoming local elections for Kilkenny County Council on May 24th next when all those against the mosque can vote for Eugene and those in support of the mosque at Hebron can vote for Andrew.
CLLR. ANDREW McGUINNESS LETS HIS NEIGHBOURS DOWN.
As is his democratic right, one of our local councillors, Andrew McGuinness, has emerged as a supporter of the mosque that the Kilkenny Islamic Community proposes to build at the Hebron Industrial Estate. But in doing this he has let all his old neighbours down after they voted for him.
KiIkenny city seems to be split wide open on the issue, though a lot more oppose the mosque here than are for it. Andrew’s uncle Eugene McGuinness, Hereditary Freeman of Kilkenny, is the chief objector.
KILKENNY COMMUNITY NETWORK.
Eugene has placed an objection with An Bord Pleanala against the mosque and will also contest the upcoming Kilkenny Council election against the mosque on May 24th this year when Andrew seeks re-election.
The objectors have formed themselves into KILKENNY COMMUNITY NETWORK , electing Eugene McGuinness as their chairman.
Others have official objections as well, especially a motor company on the Hebron Industrial estate on the grounds that they say that the mosque would lead to increased traffic that would interfere with their trade.
Kilkenny County Council had granted outline planning permission despite 34 official paid objections to the mosque.
O’Loughlins GAA club , across the road from the mosque site, have also objected on traffic grounds through their Chairman , ex detective-garda Brian Murphy.
His reverence Imam Ndure is anxious that it goes ahead. He says that the project will be a boon to Kilkenny culturally, and that all the locals are most welcome to the mosque coffee shop when it opens.
It is estimated to cost between 5 and 6 millions that Eugene McGuinness charges is coming from the Saudis – while Imam Ndure insists that the local Islamic community is collecting for it over the past two years and that one hospital doctor alone has contributed the sum of 50,000 Euro, and that this is an indication of the level of support for his new mosque.
Councillor Malcolm Noonan of the Green Party also supports the mosque as do local Sinn Fein representatives. Most other local politicians remain tight-lipped in view of the upcoming local elections in four months’ time.
Cllr. Noonan welcomed the “enrichment by cultural diversity” that the new mosque would bring to Kilkenny and called Eugene McGuinness and his merry band of objectors “haters and racists” – a theme echoed by the local KCLR radio.
Malcolm also welcomed the mosque cafe and library and the jobs that would be created to build it here – though he did not attend the O’Loughlin Club meeting to support the Imam!
John McGuinness TD remains non-committal as do the other local FF & FG Dail deputies so far. He had facilitated the taking of signatures from constituents against the mosque at the controversial O’Loughlin meeting last April, that his son Cllr. Andrew McGuinness chaired.
ONLY ONE WOMAN SUPPORTED THE MOSQUE.
Only one woman stood up at that meeting to welcome the mosque – she said she was from Kells and was seen chairing another meeting in favour of the mosque organised by W.A.R. (War Against Racism) attended by about 20 people in the Newpark Hotel the following week.
Happily there has been no racism or hate activity against the mosque or muslims in Kilkenny, so that all turned out to be a false alarm.
[There was a picket at the O’Loughlin club gates by three members of W.A.R., alleging “Racism” and calling people “fascists” as members of the general public walked passed them ]
After a tumultuous but otherwise successful meeting in the O’Loughlin Gaels Club last April, when Imam Ndure insisted that the new mosque would not draw any extra traffic, at least tempers on both sides have now well calmed down.
And that’s a great relief. Eugene McGuinness promises that if an Bord Pleanala don’t overturn the council permission he will go to the high court if necessary to oppose the construction of the mosque at that site.
He swore he would go all the way to the supreme court, and even the European Court of Justice if needs be to stop it being built at that site which is up near his own home, claiming the extra traffic would block him and his neighbours in.
He received over 1100 signatures from locals in a petition against the mosque.
However the local priest administering St.John’s parish, Fr. Frank Purcell, claimed that “it would be un-christian to go to court against the mosque”.
The reverend father exulted in crying out to a Dublin newspaper, arms outstretched, that “Jesus wants the mosque!”
Well, maybe Jesus wants it, but thousands of local residents, who will all be seriously affected by the mosque traffic, don’t . Eugene asked them all – but unlike Fr. Purcell he has received no such direct message from Jesus…
The Imam remains nonplussed, naturally looking to be in love with the idea of his own first purpose-built mosque. He too lives nearby.
He says that dedicated Islamic doctors at the local St. Luke’s Hospital are financing and collecting for the project, that they started it all by renting out the present temporary building that houses the Islamic Centre on the Freshford Road twenty years ago.
About 200 objectors attended that controversial meeting in O’Loughlin’s last April. The verdict from An Bord Pleanala is expected next month.
Eugene McGuinness has said that he has no objection to the mosque if it is sited more suitably elsewhere and that as far as he is concerned, “neither race nor religion enters into it”and he deeply resents having been falsely smeared as a racist , which he is not.
He remains confidant that the many objections will register with An Bord Pleanala, happy that everything is being done legal and proper.
And he promises to let The Kilkenny Journal know the moment An Bord Pleanala informs him and the other parties, so our readers will know first. But it appears that whatever side wins, the other side will appeal to the High Court.
[Andrew McGuinness is Vice-Chairman of Kilkenny County Council, former Mayor of Kilkenny city. Eugene McGuinness is an Hereditary Freeman of Kilkenny.]