A new chapter is to open in the history of Moate Courthouse as it gets ready to become the new home of Moate Library.
The courthouse building, which is owned by the council and is largely unused, is to be renovated in order to house Moate Library.
The building currently accommodates Moate Museum and Moate Boxing Club, and the introduction of the library will not interfere with these uses.
Speaking at Monday’s Athlone Area meeting, direcor of services Hugh O’Reilly said the council has a responsibility to find a use for the building, which is a protected structure and is in “close to derelict condition”.
Externally, the council intends to install a disabled ramp and pave the area to the front of the building to create a civic space.
This will result in the loss of up to two parking spaces, a point of concern for a number of the councillors present.
“At the moment there is uncontrolled parking from the steps to the footpath, but this will create a small civic space so we will lose about two parking spaces,” explained Mr O’Reilly.
Cllr Tom Allen said two parking spaces were a lot to lose in such a busy area of the town.
“This is the main shopping area, and parking is already a problem. I can’t say how we can do away with two parking spaces,” he said, while Cllr Frankie Keena agreed there is already a shortage of parking in the area.
However councillors broadly welcomed the news of the move and refurbishment of the building.
“It is excellent news. The civic area is a good idea, the town needs a focal point,” said Cllr John Dolan.
Responding to the concerns, Mr O’Reilly said the council would keep the impact on parking to a minimum.
“The library will provide extra footfall so there will be an increase in business, and this is the selling point to local businesses. The negative impact of losing parking spaces will be outweighed by the positives,” he said.