Time to make a decision once and for all on Westport convent site

Mayo County Council were told this week it was time for them to make a decision on what they are going to do with the old convent site in Westport — In essence, they were told that either they put forward plans for it or consider selling it.

The future of the site, which was bought by Mayo County Council in 2008 - was raised by councillors at the February meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District on Monday of this week.

Independent Cllr Christy Hyland told the meeting that he had gone into the site and walked around it and said that it was in a very dangerous state of repair. He also outlined that young people were "hanging out" in the building at night and a very serious accident could easily happen there if nothing was done with it.

Cllr Hyland said that he went to investigate after he received a number of emails from members of the public concerned with the state of the building and teenagers going in there: "We either develop it now or we move it on, with the way the building is at the moment there is going to be a tragedy there. I went in to look after I got emails about it and I saw the dangers posed by it."

Fine Gael Cllr Teresa McGuire said that a deadline should be set for the council to come back to the members with what they plan to do with it or move forward and sell off the site: "I say with a heavy heart that if we are not going to do something with it, we should get rid of it. We need to set a deadline for it, we are now going into March and if something has not happened by May we should have it as an item on the agenda to move it on to the next step."

Director of services for the council, Catherine McConnell said the local authority has made the site a priority for this year and they were meeting with relevant departments on this issue. She also said that the site itself is a closed site and that no unauthorised personal should be on the site, even elected councillors.

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