A fire has caused extensive damage at Moate Boxing Club, just days before a decision was due on a planning application to extend the premises.
The fire was discovered at the club on Main Street, Moate on Tuesday morning this week. A fire unit from Kilbeggan, members of the Gardaí, and the ESB attended the scene, and the fire was brought under control.
While a definite cause has not yet been established, it is understood the blaze may have been caused by an electrical fault, causing a substantial amount of smoke damage to the premises.
While arrangements have been made for the members to train with Athlone Boxing Club as a temporary measure, it is not yet clear whether the fire damage will have any impact on the planning application.
A decision is due this Monday October 20 on an extension and renovation works for Moate Boxing Club. The development includes an extension to the gym as well as new floors, roof, heating, showers, and changing facilities.
The boxing club has its premises in the old fire station building, which is attached to Moate Courthouse.
Moate’s Cllr Michael O’Brien said it was a pity to see damage caused to such a historical premises.
“It is sad to see a fire in the boxing club. It is in the old fire station building, and there is a lot of history attached to it. I would like to commend the emergency services for the great job they did; thank God no one was hurt,” he said.
The future of the adjoining courthouse building currently hangs in the balance, as councillors await a report from the council executive which will make recommendations for the future use of the building.
The council owns the old courthouse, and had allocated funds of €250,000 to move Moate Library from its current premises into the courthouse building; however plans stalled when the renovation work was put out to tender and the quotes received far exceeded this sum.
Externally, the council had also intended to install a disabled ramp and pave the area to the front of the building to create a civic space.
Cllr O’Brien says councillors are anxious to find a “long-term solution” for the library and the old courthouse building.