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06 Jul 2022

Laois waits on Minister Heather Humphreys to green light cash for courthouse regeneration

Laois waits on Minister Heather Humphreys to green light cash for courthouse regneration

Borris-in-Ossory Courthouse idle for nearly two deades.

A new application should be made to regenerate a historic but vacant Laois Courthouse, according to a councillor but Laois County Council says it is waiting to see if a €1.4 grant sought will materialise to commence its overhaul.

The future of the  Borris-in-Ossory was raised by Cllr James Kelly, Independent, with Mr Donal Brennan, Director of Services at a recent meeting.

He tabled a motion calling on the council to apply once again for funding from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund to help transform the Courthouse on the Main St to its former state.

However, Mr Brennan said this cannot happen because an application is already before the department overseen by Minister Heather Humphreys.

“We await the result of the most recent application to the Department of Rural and Community Development in respect of this project.  Any further application would be premature pending the results of that process first,” he said.

Cllr Kelly said he was aware that the council has committed under its 2022 to 2024 capital programme to spend nearly €1.6 million. He added that the State would have to give €1.4 million with the council committing nearly €158,000.

He said that all councillors have tried to advance this project. He hoped it could be used for community use, remote working and possibly tourism

“The courthouse requires significant upgrade,” he said.

He wanted to know what surveys had been carried out on the building to find out what is needed. 

Cllr John King, Fine Gael, said it is important that the village backs the facility and said it overhaul is worthwhile. He advised that a lot of planning must happen to avoid it being rendered redundant after a few years of use.

Cllr Conor Bergin, Fine Gael, also backed the building’s regeneration. He said one application has already failed. He said the current application relates to funding to carry out a preliminary plan.

“It is badly needed in the community. There is huge demand for this facility in the village of Borris-in-Ossory,” he said.

He said a plan was drawn up in 2010 for a library while the most recent proposal submitted in 2020 was 'extremely ambitious'.

Cllr Ollie Clooney, Independent, backed the proposal when it was raised at the Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District meeting.

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