The Galway City Council has voted to proceed with the acquisition of Lenaboy Castle in Salthill.
The property which is currently owned by the Sisters of Mercy at Taylor’s Hill, is a part of the redress scheme agreed by the religious orders in the State and the Government.
Councillors were told on Monday night at City Hall it was intended that the former orphanage would be converted into a youth creative hub despite funding uncertainty.
Chief executive of the Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, told the council the building has lain vacant for seven years so would need extensive refurbishment, with the Sisters of Mercy making a donation of €750,000 towards the project.
Time-limited funding of €1.75 million under the European Regional Development Fund was available to the Galway City Council in September 2017, however due to the undertaking of reports on traffic impact, access, and a geophysical survey, that funding is now unavailable.
Mr McGrath also said he estimated the total cost of the project would be in the region of €4.5 to €5 million.
Councillors welcomed the news with Galway city east councillor Mairéad Farrell hoping the building would “provide lovely happy memories for the children of Galway in years to come” and Mayor Níall McNelis describing Lenaboy Castle as a prime piece of property in the city: “Where there was the sound of tears, there will be the sound of laughter.”
Seventeen councillors voted for the acquisition of Lenaboy Castle with one member absent.