Fáilte Ireland must 'surrender lease' of empty Salthill tourist office to council says Connolly

Fáilte Ireland must surrender the lease of the empty tourist office in Salthill back to the Galway City Council and "no further delay" in surrending that lease "should be tolerated" by the local authority.

This is the view of Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly, who is calling for the empty building to be made available for community and arts groups, "particularly with the city in the process of applying for the status of European Capital of Culture," she said.

City Hall granted a long term lease for the use of the site, located beside the Aquarium, to Fáilte Ireland on condition it was used only as a tourist office. The building is owned by Fáilte Ireland, and functioned as a tourist office for a period of time. However it has been empty for more than five years, and according to Cllr Connolly, "no explanation has ever been forthcoming" as to why this is.

Cllr Connolly has raised this matter formally in City Hall by way of written questions, most recently on October 26, where she asked if the former tourist office could be made available for use by dance or performance groups. In reply, City Hall said it was not available for use by any group at the present time, but confirmed it was in the process of examining the surrender of the lease.

Cllr Connolly has welcomed this development but said progress is "way too slow" and that it is "entirely unacceptable that a fine space like this is left inexplicably empty for years when so many groups from dance groups to youth organizations are crying out for space". She has pledged to continue to raise this issue "until the problem is resolved".

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