The future of the old Volex plant raised its head again at the November meeting of Mayo County Council, where independent councillors Michael Kilcoyne and Gerry Ginty called for an update on the ownership situation of the plant following the falling through of a proposed development to take place there.
Responding to the councillors questions, Mayo County Council chief executive Peter Hynes told the meeting, "As I said the last day, this council is in control of and possession of the Volex building, a deposit was paid, but I'm not going to mention the number because there are ongoing discussions with a group which evolved from the original project which are at a very sensitive stage.
"When we are at a point that it can be put in the public domain it will - I hope it's very soon and I hope it's very successful. No more than with any other commercial arrangement or sensitivity around projects - there are deals that take time to put together and we are at that stage, as soon as we're in a position to confirm all of the detail we'll do that, but right now I can be clear we are in control of and in possession of the building."
Cllr Ginty probed Mr Hynes asking if the council would be repaying the deposit paid by those behind the original project, to which the chief executive responded, saying; "That is one of the questions I don't want to get into." Cllr Kilcoyne asked for a time frame for process to be made on this new proposed project to which he was told, "We would hope to see this come to a fruition or not in the very early part of next year - I expect January or February."
Having his say on the matter Fine Gael whip, Cllr Jarlath Munnelly, said; "I welcome the update and if the project is not proceeding I understand we bought that building for a particular project, if it's not proceeding we should put it on the open market. I assume the new project would require a separate Section 183 [the statute that allows local authorities to dispose of property] and if that's the case the current market valuation will be reflected in that." Mr Hynes responded to Cllr Munnelly saying: "The detail of what might be put in front of you in a month, two months, or there months time is not clear - to put any preconditions in front of it in any shape or form would be extremely unhelpful. The building was bought with the expressed intent of attracting jobs into the capital town of the county - it is an enormous asset which is appreciating, it is a very useful chip to have in response to the discussion of job creation."