Plans for the redevelopment of Moate Courthouse were finally given the green light by councillors at this week’s December monthly meeting.
In a report prepared to outline the project it estimated that the cost for works would be nearly €600,000, which would include the refurbishment of the courthouse and conversion into a library.
Along with the interior works, it is also planned to develop a plaza at the front of the building and make improvements to accessibility - but this would also result in the loss of six carparking spaces.
Part eight planning permission has already been granted for works to the court house and plaza, however there are no plans for the refurbishment of other rooms in the building. Director of services, Barry Kehoe, said that the council hopes to refurbish other rooms in the building in the future so they may be used as meeting rooms or for other council business.
Councillor John Dolan thanked the executive for pushing the project forward, “This building is seen as central to the regeneration of Moate; I think it will kick-start a turning point for the town.”
Councillors were eager to see a “complete job” done with all rooms refurbished, however Mr Keohe said it was not possible as they were too far down the planning route.
The courthouse has Moate Museum on one side and Moate Boxing Club in the old fire station. It was suggested that the fire station would be more appropriately used for council business, a Local Enterprise Office, or tourism office, in keeping with the other facilities in the courthouse.
Councillor Tom Farrell agreed, “This is going to be a civic centre, it doesn’t suit a boxing club. But we should be proactive in helping them get new premises.”
“We must not forget former councillors TR Dallas and Joe Whelan and other past councillors who were a great help in seeing this happen. We should also be looking at dedicating a room to Colm Murray,” added Cllr “Boxer” Moran.
It is hoped that the new library will be opened by January 2016, before which councillors can decide on appropriate plans to commemorate broadcaster and Moate native, the late Colm Murray.