Browne tackles Office of Public Works over state of old Garda Station
With the old Garda Station on Roche's Road falling further and further into disrepair with every passing week, Fianna Fáil TD James Browne raised the matter with Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Kevin 'Boxer' Moran in the Dáil last week.
'The station has now been empty for two years,' he said. 'It's been allowed fall into very significant disrepair. Large weeds, boarding and wiring going up all around the station. It is rapidly deteriorating and the concern is that the longer this goes on the more costly it's going to be to repair it.'
'There's a history in Wexford town of the old hospital under the control of the HSE. When the new hospital was opened in the 90s, that hospital was left there and left to fall apart and it's still in an absolute state. I do not want to see the same thing happening with this garda station in Wexford town.'
Minister Moran maintains that the OPW remains very active in relation to the building.
'We're very, very active trying to get someone into the station,' he said. 'But as people are looking at the station and it doesn't meet requirements, we have to move on until we do get someone to make use of the station. At this moment in time, there is a body interested in it and we're working closely with them to see if we can work out a deal that suits their requirements and if that's the case, it'll be good news for that part of Wexford.'
Deputy Browne replied that he was aware that the neighbouring St Brigid's Centre were in talks about taking the building, but doubted that they could afford the cost of carrying out the required repairs to bring the building up to code.
'They are a voluntary organisation,' he said. 'They're doing their best to keep the doors open. I think the OPW has a duty to maintain that building, at least in the state it was in when it was closed, which wasn't a very good state, but it has now been allowed to dilapidate much further into a more serious situation.'
Despite the fact that the building has visibly fallen into disrepair, Minister Moran didn't agree with Deputy Browne's final remarks.
'I don't agree with you saying that the OPW have let it go into a state,' he said.
'We are trying to seek alternative accommodation for somebody to take over that building. A number of deputies have come to me with different ideas and approaches and we couldn't find anyone to take it. We now have St Brigid's interested in the building. We're going to work closely with them and we'll see the outcome of that before we say nothing is happening. But it's not fair to say the OPW aren't trying to seek to make that building right and find the right tenant for it.'
Visibly annoyed by this, Deputy Browne said: 'I said the building is not being maintained, and that's a fact!'