Historic agreement reached for community lease of former convent in Offaly

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Committee members Brendan Scully, Anne Cantwell, Noel Keyes (chairman), Maureen Kidney, Michael Connolly, Geraldine Guinian and Michael Grennan.

A HISTORIC agreement has been reached for the local community to lease the former Presentation Sisters Convent in Killina, Rahan. The building, an impressive structure located beside the church and across from the secondary school in Killina, is to be developed into a community resource centre, following a successful bid by a local steering group to lease it along with the accompanying grounds. 

Negotiations between the group, chaired by a local man, Noel Keyes, have been ongoing for some months since the Killina Presentation Convent closed its doors in 2019 after the last remaining nuns moved out. News of their departure was greeted with great sadness by the local community as they have been part and parcel of life in Killina and the wider Rahan area for 202 years – the Presentation Convent was founded in Killina in 1817. Their departure left a large empty property with extensive grounds, and this generated interest from a number of groups, aware of its development potential. 

A group of local parishioners came up with the idea of setting up ‘Killina Presentation Resource Centre’ and a steering committee was established. The committee put forward a detailed strategic plan to the Presentation Sisters, proposing to develop a resource centre to provide high quality facilities and a range of activities accessible to all sectors of the community. In July 2020, the Presentation Sisters notified the steering committee that their application had been successful and work is now underway to set up a board of directors and to further develop plans for the venture. 

Among the facilities proposed for the venue are meeting rooms, work hubs, social services, arts and entertainment, training and education, therapy, exercise and relaxation, waking services, a heritage museum and a community shop and café. Detailed plans are being finalised and will be released publicly in the coming weeks and months. 

The general Rahan area has witnessed the closure of a number of shops, a post office and the local Thatch Pub over the past couple of decades and the committee hope this undertaking will help rejuvenate the area. 

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