Angry scenes at meeting on proposed mosque in Kilkenny

Angry scenes marred a public information meeting on a planned mosque which took place in Kilkenny yesterday.

The meeting was requested by public representatives, John and Andrew McGuinness, in response to queries from local residents.

Approximately 200 people attended the meeting which was organised to provide information on the planning application and the planning process.

Shouting and heckling dominated the two-hour meeting which took place at O'Loughlin Gaels GAA club.

Imam Ebrahim Ndure addressed those present and attempted to answer questions from people, the majority of whom voiced their opposition to the planned development which will cost in the region of €5m.

The proposed development will consist of a mosque, a community hall, a library, residential accommodation, a Halal shop and a community cafe.

"We are here to answer your questions and concerns," he said.

Pic via the Kilkenny People

The architect for the planned development was also present to answer any queries, along with a planning expert.

Concerns were raised from the floor that the planned site might be close to a burial ground and that the proposed development would have a negative impact on traffic, traffic management and parking in the area.

Local resident, Eugene McGuinness, who is opposing the planned mosque said the majority of the people do not want this mosque: "I have walked to every door in this area, all the housing estates. 99.9% of people do not want this building to go ahead. It is about planning, it is not a religious argument."

Stephanie McDermott from Kells said she has lived in Muslim countries and that Irish people are allowed to go and worship their faith in other countries.

The Imam said the Kilkenny Islamic community has been looking for sites for the past two years and asked anyone with an objection to raise it with the county council.

A suggestion was also made from the floor to build the mosque on the Freshford Road where the Kilkenny Islamic community have been renting premises for the past 10 years.

The Imam issued an invitation to people to visit the Kilkenny Islamic Centre on the Freshford Road.

One member of the public said: "We don't agree with the mosque, nobody wants the mosque. We don't want a mosque. This is not just for the Muslims of Kilkenny. They are going to come from all of Tipperary, Wexford. This is Kilkenny, not Mecca. This is not Mecca.

"Don't be bringing people down here. Don't build the mosque, we don't want it. You have to respect our culture - for us to respect you, respect us first."

Another person present interjected: "That is not true."

Deputy John McGuinness called for calm and explained that if people present want to make an objection they can do so.

The closing date for objections is April 19.

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