UPDATE: Kilkenny Imam – ‘We won’t give up our dream of building a mosque in city’
THE leader of Kilkenny’s Islamic community has admitted he was “shocked” at the decision of An Bord Pleanála to reject the plans for a mosque in the city.
But Iman Ebrahim Ndure (pictured above) said it would not deter the local Muslim community from their mission to build their own place of worship in the city.
Imam Ndure told KilkennyNow.ie this evening: “We are really disappointed of course. We were very hopeful of a positive result from An Bord Pleanála after Kilkenny County Council accorded us the planning approval.
“We have worked very hard at this for years. The [Muslim] community is very disappointed.”
Imam Ndure said he only learned of An Bord Pleanála’s decision when he was contacted by the media this morning.
He said he needs to see why the planning authorities rejected the plans for the Islamic Cultural Centre on the Hebron Industrial Estate before deciding what the next course of action will be.
But he added: “I will tell you one thing – we are very determined to have our Islamic cultural centre. Our hunger to have our own place to worship is still very strong.”
Kilkenny County Council gave the green light for the development last year, but their decision was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála on foot of three objections.
The planning body had postponed its ruling on two previous occasions before the decision was finally made public this morning.
The decision to turn down the development met with a mixed reaction today.
Local election Independent candidate Luke O’Connor, who opposed the mosque, said it was “a great day for Kilkenny city”.
Mr O’Connor told KilkennyNow.ie: “Ordinary salt of the earth people stood up to the powers that be against a poor plan for the site which would have further congested an area which struggles with large swathes of traffic.”
His fellow local election candidate, Stephanie Hanlon of People Before Profit, said it was “unacceptable” that the Islamic community had to be informed of the decision via the media.
Ms Hanlon told KilkennyNow.ie: “It is completely unacceptable that the Islamic Centre as a key stakeholder have had to learn second hand from the media before being formally informed about the rejection for planning permission. Despite the outcome this was unnecessary and extremely disrespectful. A phone call takes five minutes.”
A spokesperson for An Bord Pleanála confirmed to KilkennyNow.ie that a total of five “interested parties” were notified of the decision to turn down the Kilkenny mosque development.
These include the three people who lodged a formal appeal to the planning authority, Kilkenny Council and another party who “made an observation” in relation to the development.
An Bord Pleanála said it did not notify the Islamic community leaders of their decision because they were not directly involved in the planning appeal process.
IMAGE: Artist’s impression of the proposed Kilkenny Islamic Cultural Centre