The planned new Portlaoise library
Laois County Council is set to proceed at 'full speed' to begin construction work on a new multi-million euro library for the town, according to its chief executive.
Responding the confirmation of an extra €1.35 million for the project Mr John Mulholland said work could recommence on the stalled project earmarked for Main Street Portlaoise.
"Of course this is great and very welcome news and is a further step in the right direction towards the regeneration of the town centre," he told the Leinster Express.
"The Council has already shortlisted a number of suitably qualified builders , so we will now move full speed ahead to secure a contractor to commence work as soon as possible.
"I wish to acknowledge the great support given by Minister Charlie Flanagan in this and other flagships projects for the town," he said.
Minister Charlie Flanagan revealed news of the funding to the Leinster Express.
“I am pleased to announce the sum of €1.35 million for Portlaoise library," he said.
The Minister said the original cost of a new library was €2.8 million. The updated cost was €5.3 million. He said the original Government allocation was €1.65 million brining the total Government allocation to €3 million.
“This is an important development for Portlaoise. The town's Main Street in particular is the focus of Governent attention. Earlier in the year I secured pilot regeneration status for the Main Street area and this (library funding) is a further example of breathing life back into the Main Street.
“I want to see this development proceeding and I am pleased to assist,” he said.
Apart from increasing football on Main Street, he added that the library would service the large population in the town, as well as schools.
“The new library will make a significant difference for the people of Portlaoise and I very much welcome the allocation of funds to this worthwhile project”.
It is five years since the building was purchased from Shaws for €450,000.
The costs escalated when it emerged extensive construction work would be needed to reubuild the site.
In May 2017, Laois County Council's Chief Executive John Mulholland said the project would not proceed unless money came from Government. County Councillors agreed with this.
The project has caused some public disquiet because it was felt money would be better spent on housing and other public services.
Laois County Council engineering staff have been back at the set in recent days.
Minsiter Flanagan said the new library would be be a state of the art community hub and an important enabler of digital services in line with the aims of the Government’s new public library strategy Our Public Libraries.