Contract signed and delivered for tennis court project. From left: Declan McCabe, McCabe Group; Liam McElgunn, Traynor Consulting Engineers Belturbet; Susan Willis, chairperson, BJD Community Council; Helen Smith, joint secretary; Cllr Trevor Smith and Kevin Fox, BJD Tidy Towns.

Ballyjamesduff on the move

COMMUNITY Courthouse transformation almost complete

As optimism grows and Covid restrictions ease further, the people of Ballyjamesduff are moving forward positively on various fronts to either complete projects or get new ones off the ground.

Some €584,000 has been sourced in recent times for infrastructure in the south east Cavan town and the Ballyjamesduff Community Council is working in close liaison with Cavan County Council to maximise resources for the benefit of all.

For example, the town’s former Courthouse has been transformed into a wonderful community facility, with the addition of toilets and a kitchen. This extension was funded by Leader.

Community Council chairperson, Susan Wills, told the Celt they received funding from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. The Heritage Council also funded the restoration of the chimneys and the refurbishment of windows on the courthouse building. The entire facility is now also wheelchair friendly.

The main contractor on the overall project was Jim Healey Construction, Virginia; while David Cullivan was the lead architect. The building still has to be painted and the McCabe Group have been awarded the contract to put stone facing on the perimeter wall.

A projector has been fitted where the judge’s bench once perched and it’s hoped to show movies there in the not too distant future, restrictions permitting.

Consideration is being given to the type of activities the building will facilitate and it is expected that drama, singing, dancing and a homework club will feature.

Clare Willis, who will be co-ordinating activities in the building, explained that a lot of community groups will take the opportunity to bring their own classes like Yoga, public speaking, a school of music, art classes and a book club to the venue. There are also plans to set up remote working hot desks, and the county council provided three lap tops and headphones.

Transformation of tennis courts

Ballyjamesduff has the only public tennis courts in the county and the facility has been in place for over 70 years.

Helen Smith, joint secretary of the Community Council, revealed that they secured €185,000 from Leader last year to transform the tennis court area.

She informed the Celt that the works will take eight to 10 weeks to complete.

The tennis courts are adjacent to the courthouse facility and both will be run in tandem with access to the toilets in the courthouse for those playing tennis.

The tennis courts will also be marked out to facilitate different games like basketball and the handball alley is also being refurbished.

Outdoor Cinema

The provision of an outdoor cinema at the tennis court site is also in the pipeline courtesy of a €40,000 grant for outdoor Covid measures.

“We have got funding for seating for the cinema facility and the film will be projected onto the handball alley wall,” enthused Helen.

Funding to the tune of €13,500 was awarded from the Sports Capital Grant, which will also provide new perimeter fencing. A new retaining wall will be constructed at the end of the tennis court facility and the Court Crescent houses. New astroturf courts, new nets, a couple of viewing areas and seating will also be installed.

Positive developments

Fine Gael Cllr Trevor Smith said that a lot of regeneration activity went ahead even during Covid times, including the upgrading of the re-cycling facility at the mart by Cavan County Council’s Waste Management section in conjunction with Ballyjamesduff Mart and the Community Council.

An extension to the Nuns’ Walk at the County Museum will also commence shortly.

“The construction of the €1.5 million fire station will be commencing in the next few weeks. I would like to point out that most of the works in the town are being carried out by local contractors,” said Cllr Smith.

For example, Sandar Construction is building the fire station, the McCabe Group is contracted to the tennis court project and Cullivan Plant Hire from Crosskeys are involved in both projects.

Cllr Smith said that, when the lockdown is over, it’s hoped to hold some of the Municipal District meetings in the courthouse building.

Heritage Sites

A new trail is in the course of being established featuring 10 heritage sites, according to Clare Willis. There will be a map in the Town Square and it is expected to be launched in the coming months.

“We also got marquees through that measure and erected them at the town square and this facilitated a market. We held weekly markets in the run-up to last Christmas. They were a great success and we are hoping to have them bi-weekly going forward. The first one will take place on Saturday, May 29,” said Clare.

Teach Solas

Clare explained that her organisation, Teach Solas, works closely with the Community Council and the Ballyjamesduff Tidy Towns Committee and they have drafted a biodiversity plan for the town.

There will be a focus on planting perennials so that there will be flowers in bloom all year round.


Cllr Smith said it was revealed at the last Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting that the CCTV project for Ballyjamesduff had progressed to the next stage. It was applied for a couple of years ago by the other joint secretary, Shirley Byers and, it is hoped that the successful CCTV role out of the project can take place soon.

Blotto going on line

The Blotto has been closed down for the last year due to Covid-19, but now the resourceful people of Ballyjamesduff have decided to put it online. It went live last week. Funding from the Blotto in the town goes to numerous community groups and is operated by the Community Council.

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