Hopes old garda station will soon be occupied
While the dilapidated old garda station continues to be an eyesore and a blight on the town centre landscape, talks are still ongoing behind the scenes with the OPW for the neighbouring St Brigid's Day Care Centre to take over the building.
Since the gardaí moved into their new base in Mulgannon, the building on Roche's road has rapidly fallen into a state of disrepair, with windows boarded up, mesh fencing blocking off the entrances and huge weeds taking root and sprouting up over the walls.
The subject was broached by Cllr Davy Hynes at this week's Borough District Meeting, as he called upon the OPW to furnish details of their plans for the building. He also called for it to be made available for emergency accommodation for the homeless.
'Conversations have taken place and it was decided that the building is not suitable for housing,' Director of Services Tony Larkin said in response to Cllr Hynes. He then urged caution on making demands of the OPW, pointing out that they had been in contact about the building.
'Well what are we going to do?' Cllr Hynes asked. 'Let it fall down?'
Cllr Leonard Kelly added that the building had become 'a blight' on the local landscape and, somewhat ironically, a haven for anti-social behaviour. Mr Larkin said that he would seek an update from the OPW on the matter.
However, Manager at St Brigid's Day Care Centre, Sean Kinsella, has confirmed that they are still very much interested in taking over the old garda station building next door and that discussions are continuing with the OPW.
'It's definitely something that we're still pursuing,' he said. 'We're trying to get a draft plan in place to present to the OPW and in fairness to them, they're being very patient with us. It will cost a lot of money to bring the building up to code and we would have to undertake a lot of fundraising, as well as seeking substantial grant aid.'
'A number of groups that we accommodate here in the centre are in need of more space,' he added. 'In particular we thought it would be nice to put in a garden for the older people and the children to enjoy. We're hoping to have something more concrete to present to the OPW in the coming weeks and hopefully there'll be some progress early in the New Year.'