€2.5 m boost for Main St Portlaoise

Laois County Council has taken a big step towards the regeneration of Portlaoise’s Main Street by moving the county library to the old Shaw’s building.

Laois County Council has taken a big step towards the regeneration of Portlaoise’s Main Street by moving the county library to the old Shaw’s building.

The council has pledged to invest more than €2.5million the renovations which are set to turn the old building in to a state of the art library and events space. The council has decled to say how much it has paid for the building.

The council says the new library will be fully self-service and will include expanded free children’s services and free events space for children and teenagers, expanded public access IT facilities, printing and scanning facilitate. There will be free WIFI, as well as ebooks, audio books, online resources, MP3/IPOD, computer games and e-readers.

According to Anna-Marie Delaney, director of services, the capital cost of the project is likely to be in the region of €2.5 million and the council envisages that the development will avail of grant funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local government. However, no application for funding has been made yet.

The library move was warmly welcomed by the Downtown Portlaoise traders group.

“Something like this was badly needed, it will be a great investment in Main Street,” said Ger Mulhall, Downtown Portlaoise chairman.

He said the group would continue to lobby the council for a business incentive scheme for Main Street.

“We will be pressing the council for a business incentive scheme to get the idle shops going again and feed off the library,” he added.

Mr Mulhall said he was concerned about what would happen to the old library building, but said that was a discussion for another day.