For a number of years the community of Gaoth Dobhair has watched as the lights were switched off on a number of businesses in the area.
The community felt disheartened as they watched many of their young leave to find employment in Dublin, London and further afield.
However, the opening of Amharclann Gaoth Dobhair has raised spirits and hopes in the community.
This week, the community received a further boost with news that the planning application to redevelop the Ardscoil Mhuire Gaoth Dobhair site and build housing units, including assist living facilities for adults with intellectual disabilities, has now been lodged.
The move is one that is being brought forward by Sinn Féin Deputy Pearse Doherty and Cllr John Sheamuis Ó Fearraigh.
Deputy Doherty who lives a short distance from Ardscoil Mhuire said the building is one which retains painful memories for members of the Gaoth Dobhair community.
Mickey Ferry, 64, Carrick Boyle, Derrybeg was jailed for 14 years in 2011 after pleading guilty to 38 sample charges of rape and molestation between 1990 and 2005. Many of the assaults took place in Ardscoil Mhuire.
“The place is a scar on the face of Gaoth Dobhair. People do not want to be reminded about what happened there,” Mr Doherty said.
Plans have been ongoing for two years and Deputy Doherty hopes that the plan could mark a new era for the parish: “Let's put the lights back on in Gaoth Dobhair - one building at a time, and continue to breath new life into the community.”
Cllr Ó Fearraigh said he hopes the plans which could see 29 families housed in the area could stem depopulation, boost the economy and greatly benefit to the surrounding area.
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