Sinn Féin local election candidate Brian Carr has called on Donegal County Council to be open to considering all viable options it receives from the local community when considering the future use of the former Glenties Courthouse site.
Speaking about the property, which has been lying vacant for some time and which is believed to require some refurbishment works in order to make it fit to be re-occupied, Carr said that it’s vital that the building be used to house community based initiatives.
“The former courthouse building in Glenties is quite a large and attractive property and, as anyone who is familiar with it will know, not only has great architectural integrity but has a fascinating history having been built in the 1840’s.
“However, over more recent decades, and particularly since court sittings ceased in 2015, the building has fallen into a state of disrepair and has been lying vacant.
“It’s understood that an OPW report into the condition of the property was commissioned in 2004, and a further health and safety audit produced in 2015, both outlined the condition of the old building and gave details of the scope of works required in order to bring the property back into usage.
“Both these reports found that the property had a number of structural and building defects, much of which is due to problems associated with damp and infestation.
“It’s believed that the cost of carrying out these remedial works is in the region of an estimated €80,000, money which is needed to prevent further deterioration and allow for the building to be occupied once again.
“The building is now owned by Donegal County Council and I would call on the local authority to now seriously consider proposals for its future.
“And as part of that process, I would urge the Council to be open to all ideas and sensible proposals put forward by the local community in Glenties which can best ensure that – whatever is ultimately decided – that the building can be used to house initiatives which benefit local residents and groups going forward.
“As many people will recall, part of the building previously housed the town library and this would be one of the possible uses for the building which should be considered.
“Similarly, the museum next door has access to the back yard area and so it would be nice to see the museum use more of the building, including the old holding cells underneath the building which are of considerable historical significance.
“Because clearly the building has huge potential and, should I be successful in my election bid and have the privilege of being elected as a Councillor for the Glenties Municipal District this May, I pledge to push this issue at Council level on behalf of the local community.”