Donegal County Council is exploring options on how best to use the old Courthouse in Letterkenny.
The Council will take charge of the building once all the material has been transferred to the new courthouse on the High Road.
Donegal County Council Director of Services, Liam Ward, told this week’s Letterkenny Municipal District meeting that the Council was proposing to ‘retain the building for its own use and look at services’.
He confirmed that the Council had engagement with Failte Ireland and, while those talks would continue, there are no firm decisions regarding the future of the building.
“I am glad that we have been able to secure the building from the Courts Service. It is a landmark building and has a lot to offer to tourists,” Fianna Fail Councillor Ciaran Brogan told the meeting.
Councillor Brogan has brought the matter to light on a number of occasions at Donegal County Council level, with motions on the topic in May 2015 and again in May 2017.
Last year, he asked that the Municipal District establish opens open in availing of the building ‘due to its historical value to the town’.
Councillors were in agreement that the building and its acquisition is something the Council can use to its advantage, with the potential for exhibits and other such hostings now open to the authority.
“It is an opportunity to have a building that will increase the footfall onto the Main Street and support the tax and rate payers there,” Councillor Jimmy Kavanagh said.
Councillor Gerry McMonagle said the building offered the Council a chance to ‘have a footprint in Letterkenny town’.
Councillor McMonagle added: “It is important to maintain and bring potential for more footfall onto the main street. We have to be innovative about this and try to do something that will create jobs.”
Councillor Michael McBride noted that the biggest asset of the building was the car parking available.
In response, the Council said: “There have been a number of enquires from a variety of organisations/groups interested in locating to the building.
“The Council must prioritise the use of the building in the contest of its own business needs in the first instance. The facility presents an opportunity to consolidate a number of different service divisions that are currently accommodated in rented premises in the town.”
Later in the meeting, Councillor Dessie Shiels had a motion asking for a public consultation process inviting public submissions and inviting expressions of interest from interested groups to use the building.
However, it was noted that the previous motion had been accepted and stood.
Councillor Shiels, who had previously had an angry clash on a motion regarding the testing of the quality of drinking water in Letterkenny, was angry that the motion had, as he put it, ‘been refused by the executive’.
Councillor Liam Blaney suggested that ‘any motion Councillor Shiels has in, there is an effort made to stop it and anyone who can’t see it must be blind’.Tags: