New date given to open delayed new Portlaoise library

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

portlaoise library

The planned new Portlaoise library

Finish date given for delayed new Portlaoise library -400

A finish date has been given by Laois County Council for the new €5.2 million county library in Portlaoise.

The library is under construction on Main Street with foundations now being installed.  However it will be another 18 months before the doors will open for readers after several issues caused delays on the plan.

Director of Services Donal Brennan gave the latest completion date as April 2022.

“In May or June 2022 we should be moving in,” he said.

The site was bought in 2013 from Shaws for €450,000, but the rising construction cost caused the council to stall the project until more government funding was agreed. Work began in early 2019 with a 20 month delivery date. However Covid caused further delays this year as well as soil problems on site.

It is expected to cost €5.189 million. A state grant is paying €3.876m of that, with the other €1.313m from the council’s local budget.

CEO John Mulholland says it will benefit all of Laois and beyond.

“The library is in Portlaoise but it is to the benefit of everyone living in the county and outside of it,” he said.

They were speaking at the meeting to announce Laois County Council’s Indicative Capital Programme from 2021 to 2023. 

One other library in Laois is getting a capital investment within the next three years. Rathdowney library which has a leaking roof is getting a fabric upgrade, with €178,000 expected to be spent next year on it.

“We hope to sign off on it this week or next so the work will be carried out in 2021,” said Director of Services Donal Brennan.

Cllr Ashling Moran accused the council of neglecting small towns and villages.

“Libraries are closing in small towns and villages. We are neglecting them and making people move out to bigger ones,” she said.

The new Portlaoise library is on the site of the old Shaws shop on the Main Street. The 16,000 sq ft facility will offer library services and an exhibition area, study, IT section and a community meeting room. The development is expected to restore footfall to the Main Street, lost after town centre schools moved out.  

It was designed by McOH Architects from Portlaoise and is being built by FC Murray & Sons - Contractors from Roscrea in Tipperary who also did Abbeyleix library. 

Below: the old Shaws shop now demolished to make way for a new Portlaoise library.