Tuesday 22 October 2019

Old Garda Station is an 'eyesore that needs to be fixed'

Tom Enright: ‘building not appropriate for community group
Tom Enright: ‘building not appropriate for community group
The old Garda barracks rapidly falling into disrepair on Roche’s Road in Wexford

Pádraig Byrne

While the Office of Public Works (OPW) have indicated that discussions are still ongoing with interested parties, they haven't ruled out the sale of the building on the open market. The building has seen a rapid deterioration since Wexford Gardaí moved to their new Mulgannon base in September 2017. With some windows boarded up, mesh fences blocking off the entrances and huge weeds taking root around what was once a bustling building, it is quickly becoming an eyesore in the centre of town.

A spokesperson for the OPW stated that a deal had previously been agreed with Wexford Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Service to lease the building, however, last month they confirmed that they would be taking up a more suitable site in Maudlintown offered to them by Wexford County Council. With this announcement went any hope of a quick resolution for the old garda station building which desperately awaits a new lease of life.

'Wexford Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Service have recently advised the OPW that they are to be provided with alternative accommodation in Wexford and no longer require the Sergeant's Quarters,' a spokesperson said. 'Wexford Community Services Council who currently occupy the adjoining property have also expressed an interest in acquiring the building. They are currently conducting a review of the property to establish if it can meet their needs, subject to the costs of refurbishment.'

While this would seemingly provide an ideal solution, there was an air of doubt surrounding the move.

'If the Wexford Community Services Council decide not to proceed with acquiring the property, the OPW will again establish if there is any alternative State use for the property prior to disposing of it on the open market,' the spokesperson concluded.

Things were even less optimistic when the building came up for discussion at a meeting of Wexford County Council. Cllr Tom Forde pointed out that 'the longer it's left, the more costly it's going to be'. Meanwhile, Council Chief Executive Tom Enright described the building as being in bad shape and unfit for the majority of community groups to move into. He also added that the buildings on the site are protected structures, meaning they can't be demolished to start from scratch.

'Unfortunately it's in very poor repair,' he said. 'It's a protected structure so it's going to be very expensive to do anything with it but we won't be letting it there to be an eyesore to be left derelict. Unfortunately it's not going to be simple.'

'I don't think it's appropriate for community groups. The heating system is shared between a number of buildings; there are lots of issues with it and it needs investment from the OPW to bring it into a state where it can be used.'

'It's a very prominent building and an eyesore that needs to be fixed.'

Wexford People

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