Mortgage foreclosure threatens future of Women’s Centre

Michelle Clancy reports

N35S3PicManagement at Waterford Women’s Centre have sought the financial intervention of the local Council, amidst fears that a mortgage taken out in 2008 to purchase the current premises at 76 Manor Street could be heading for foreclosure.
At a presentation to the Council’s Metropolitan District last week, Women’s Centre co-ordinator Breda Murphy explained that the mortgage had been taken out in 2008 to purchase 76 Manor Street and expand from the existing premises next door.
“There was no available funding but we were confident that we could get the funding and generate revenue,” she noted.
“However our existing funding was then cut by 50 per cent over a short space of time.”
This, she explained, severely curtailed programmes at the Centre, which offers community education, training and childcare and other supports to local women. However it also resulted in the inability to repay the mortgage. Ms Murphy said any surplus at the Centre was quickly depleted. A moratorium on the mortgage ran out on March 31st and there is now a fear that the Centre will be forced to close.
“We want to ensure we can continue to provide our service to marginalised women in Waterford”, she added.
Director Miriam Holt told the Councillors that they had exhausted every avenue in the hope of saving the Centre.
“We have tried all Government departments and we have never come to the Council before looking for money, our aim has always been to be sustainable.”
Ms Holt also noted that planning permission was in place to open a café at the Centre which would be a “real attribute to Manor Street”.
Noting the diversity of programmes run by the Centre, Metropolitan Mayor Eamon Quinlan (FF) said the Council should play a strong part in the solution to this crisis.
Cllr Mary Roche said she would be encouraging the Council to take any steps it could to help but noted that the local authority was ‘dancing in the dark’ until it knew the amount owed. However Cllr Eddie Mulligan (FF) suggested that the Centre’s representatives should meet to discuss the amount ‘outside of the public forum’.
Cllrs Lola O’Sullivan (FG), Pat Fitzgerald (SF) and Cha O’Neill (Ind) praised the worthwhile work done at the Centre.

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