A section of the attendance at last night's meeting in the Abbey Hotel.
More than 350 concerned members of the community gathered in the Abbey Hotel last night to voice their support for the proposed cinema development in Donegal Town which had been rejected by the planning department of Donegal county council.
In one of the biggest meetings held in Donegal for many years, all the public representatives present voiced their support for the development.
Willie John Dolan, the man behind the development. addressed the crowd and thanked the huge crowd for coming out on a cold winter’s evening. “ I have been coming to this town for over thirty years and live just up the road. I remember in earlier years I decided I wanted to leave my mark on his town. I had three ambitions.
Developer Willie John Dolan speaking at the meeting, to his left, the new mayor of Donegal town, Pauric Kennedy.
“I wanted to bring the Sam Maguire to this town in 1993 after Donegal had it the previous year. The weekend that Tyrone lifted it, Sam spent his very first night in this very hotel/
Secondly everybody knows of my love of rallying and I had this mad idea of bringing the World Rally Championships to the area and yes we did, not once but twice.
My final dream was to see a cinema complex to the town where families and children could enjoy themselves in a safe and alcohol free environment. I am intent on seeing this through.”
Yvonne Callaghan who spearheaded the Save our Cinema Facebook campaign thanked the community and the public representatives for their show of support but warned, “We have 8,000 people already behind us and are not going away. The people of Donegal are making their views loud and clear - it is now time to move forward and get this project off the ground.”
Developer Willie John Dolan gets a standing ovation from all in attendance at the meeting.
There was an air of both frustration and anger as members of the community expressed their collective views that this was an opportunity that could be missed, one that offered entertainment to all the family away from the drink and pub culture.
Despite assertions that this was still a “live matter”, Leas Cheann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher TD contradicted this saying, “This is not a live application, it is dead in the water. It is as simple as this, the planners have refused the application."
His advice was that the developers and planning department should sit down and come up with a solution - research, he said, has been done and it has indicated that this site is the most suitable in the town.
Developer Willie John Dolan, centre, pictured with public representatives who attended the meeting.
For more on this story see Thursday's Donegal Democrat.