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06 Oct 2022

Ambitious plan for Emo Court cottages is cash dependent due to 'major intervention' needed

New plans to restore empty cottages at Emo Court in Laois

Emo Court, Laois

Empty cottages in Emo Court could be occupied by artists if they are restored according to the Office of Public Works.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan gave an update on the vacant houses in the state owned Emo Court to Laois Minister of State Sean Fleming.

The reply says that empty workmen's cottages are currently being used for storage but could have a creative future. 

"The unoccupied properties at Emo Court are currently being used for storage of items/artefacts from the main house as OPW undertakes a significant project to refurbish the basement, ground and first floors of the House, an investment in the order of €2 million which is grant-funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

"The two cottages are in a condition where they could not be made habitable without major intervention. The Gamekeeper’s Cottage would require more extensive work in order to be habitable. All buildings are being heated to preserve the building fabric, have security and fire alarms and are continuously monitored to prevent deterioration," the letter states.

Minister O'Donovan said the OPW hope to restore them if Government foots the cost.

"When works have been completed on the main house, OPW intends to advance a programme of works to refurbish the lodges and cottages, subject to the availability of funding. We are developing plans for their long-term use specifically for artist residencies to support future cultural programming at Emo Court," the OPW state.

Minister of State Fleming said he looked forward to the new artist residencies being brought into use in due course.

All in all, this represents a substantial level of current investment and future plans by the Government for Emo Court which is so important from a historical , community and tourism potential point of view.

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