Christian church group vacate premises at Northlink Retail Park

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A church, function rooms and coffee shop that was being run by a Christian chuch group operating in Dundalk has closed its doors over Christmas.

A church, function rooms and coffee shop that was being run by a Christian chuch group operating in Dundalk has closed its doors over Christmas.

The Grace Fellowship Church, now known as the Grace Church Dundalk, left the premises just before Christmas Eve.

The group had been running a coffee shop, church and previously a school from the former retail unit.

The Grace Church began in 1987 as Grace Fellowship Family Church with lead pastor, Hassan Boyle, who - according to their slickly produced website - started the church from his living room in Bay Estate.

Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat , Kenneth Cumiskey, the landlord of the unit confirmed that they had left, but did not wish to comment further.

It is not clear if the group have any plans to set up elsewhere in Dundalk.

The ‘Coffee Room’ had been operating for a number of years from a former retail unit in the Northlink Retail Park, and was well known for selling unbranded Starbuck’s Coffee.

Theoperators of the business however announced on December 18 that the business would be closing.

Written on their Facebook page it said: “It is with much regret that we have to announce that sadly The Coffee Room will cease trading at close of business on Christmas Eve (5pm).

“The management and staff would like to thank you for your support and valued custom over the last 3 years.”

The coffee shop was being run by the Christian group, and was popular with both members of the congregation and members of the public.

The Grace Fellowship also ran a school, initially at the retail park and then at the old Keytronic school.

The church is a registered charity, and encourages its congregation to make financial donations in order for it to make an “environment” that can be enjoyed on a weekly basis.

Two years ago the premises and the part of the complex that was run by the group was described as a “fire trap”.

Dundalk Town Council had summonsed the landlords and the tenant Hassan Boyle, trading as Grace Fellowship Family Church, under planning enforcement and building control regulations, and the building was temporarily closed.

Improvements were made and the premises was reopened following a fire officer’s approval.

Other Christian church groups across Ireland have fallen on hard times, with a staggering €18 million judgement being awarded against the Victory Christian Fellowship in Dublin.

It is understood that such churches finance their operations, and parishioners lifestyles, through ‘tithes ‘ (donations) and through enterprises such as the coffee shops.

The Democrat attempted to contact the group by email, by phone and via social media, but did not receive a response before going to print.