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unholy row Fair City's George McMahon urges parish to reconsider decision to axe venue for acting school

George and his wife Rachel claim that over 70 children and their parents have been left heartbroken that they can no longer do classes every Friday

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George Mahon and his wife Rachel

George Mahon and his wife Rachel

George Mahon and his wife Rachel

Fair City star George McMahon has spoken of his heartbreak after losing use of a local parish hall for the stage school business he runs with his wife Rachel. 

George, who plays Mondo O'Connell in the hit soap, and Rachel have been using the hall in Stamullen, Co. Meath, for six years.

The couple claim that over 70 children and their parents have been left heartbroken that they can no longer do classes every Friday.

Fr Brendan Ferris, new Parish Priest for the village, told the Sunday World that the room used by George and Rachel for their Glitz stage school will now be turned into an oratory. 

George says he was initially told that no community group, including the Golden Girls pensioners, would be allowed of use the centre.

He started a petition and has amassed 600 signatures urging the priest to change his mind.

George has since found accommodation for his school elsewhere in the parish.

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Fr Brendan Ferris

Fr Brendan Ferris

Fr Brendan Ferris

 

"What's really upsetting is that we actually only got seven weeks through our last term before lockdown happened, so we still owe for these weeks that kids have already paid for," George told the Sunday World. 

"So, its 70 sets of parents we have promised these classes and it's been a very upsetting time for us for the past few weeks."

Glitz was set up by Rachel and caters for children aged three to 13. They also run classes in the Naul, north Co. Dublin, and Celbridge, Co. Kildare. George also has his own separate stage school which he set up, with other classes in more locations.

"There is really nowhere else in Stamullen we can stage it," he said "We can confirm that hall has been lying empty every Friday for three or four weeks.

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"Ten years ago there was a big fundraiser to give it a refurb and the community got together. That's the point of our petition is that if there is enough signatures that we want to prove the hall belongs to the people."

Stamullen Parish said in a statement that five voluntary groups that used the centre prior to Covid would be allowed back but "regrettably" the room used by Glitz stage school will now be turned into an oratory.

Fr Ferris said in a statement: "The Parish Pastoral Centre is not being closed. In fact, the opposite, going forward there are plans that will mean hundreds of children, their parents and grandparents, will be using the parish facilities more than ever before.

"Prior to the Covid pandemic, only five small voluntary groups availed of the facilities and when Government guidelines allow it to reopen these groups will be welcomed back. There will also be availability for other small groups who may wish to use the facilities.

"Regrettably, the only business activity that availed of the parish facilities prior to Covid can now no longer be facilitated when it reopens as that room is being turned into an Oratory for the very practical reason of facilitating weekday masses and financial reasons. I hope this clarified the position."

The Sunday World called to Stamullen church and spoke to Fr Ferris who told us that George has now secured an alternate location.

"The room he's talking about us getting is in Julianstown, which is nearly five miles away and a ten-minute drive," George said.

"It is certainly not within walking distance and already we have lost 30% of our customers because they have no transport."

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