Members of the McLaughlin families gather together for the unveiling of the new installation at Muff Community Park
The generosity of two local families was formally recognised on Sunday August 12, with the unveiling of a stone at Muff Community Park acknowledging their donation of the land on which the park has been developed.
Representatives of the both families, together with staff and Committee members of Muff Community Development Co-op, gathered to mark the occasion. Seamus and Ann Mc Laughlin (both of whom were present) and members of their family donated the land which has now become the park.
Joanne Mc Laughlin represented the family of Anne and the late Pat Mc Laughlin, who donated additional land for access purposes. Bernard Breslin, Chairman of Muff Community Development, opened proceedings by welcoming all present. He went on to thank both families for their generosity and acknowledged the contribution of former chairman, Gerard Mc Laughlin, who was instrumental in securing the both donations.
Bernard recalled how the Co-op, then in the guise of Muff Youth &Sports Festival, had long been seeking land for the provision of an outdoor community facility in the village. The Festival Committee had accumulated a fund for this purpose but, at a time when land prices began to escalate, could not compete with commercial interests who could pay development prices. Bernard recounted that when the plan did not come to fruition, Seamus, who had been supportive of these efforts, stepped forward with his generous offer. Pat was approached later, when it became apparent that additional access might be required.
Muff is well known for the welcome extended to both visitors and new residents of the border village and the actions of these families typifies the community spirit, which has helped make it one of the most sought-after locations in which to live and bring up a family in the Inishowen/Derry area.
Securing the land was the first step in a community success story that continues to be written today. It facilitated the construction of a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA, 2010), the development of grassed, drained open park-land (2012) and the opening of a playground (2013). In the intervening period a party cabin, toilets, and tarmacadam surfacing were also added together with other improvements and services. Total spend to date is just under €500,000, of which €345,000 has been grant aided, the remaining €155,000 being contributed by local community and business. Muff Community Development wish to acknowledge, Inishowen Development Partnership, The National Lottery, Sports Capital Fund, Donegal County Council, the Windfarm Community Fund and local and local Community and business interests, all of whom have helped make this possible. It may be an oversimplification to say that it all stemmed from a single act of kindness, but that act certainly helped set the ball rolling in the right direction.