Loughrea Arts Recreation and Culture (LARC ) have expressed concern that Galway County Council is prepared to consider selling Loughrea Town Hall to unspecified commercial interests.
The group claim selling the hall to a private individual represents a shortsighted view that has been present in government thinking on community planning for many years in Ireland.
“The Town Hall should not be transferred to any private individual or business interests if anything it should be transferred to community trust – it is the people of this town and its hinterland who are the real stakeholders here,” said a LARC spokesperson.
LARC has a genuine fear that if the building were to pass into private ownership it would be lost to the community forever.
“The Council should look at the Town Hall as a an opportunity not as a burden – we should be fighting tooth and nail to make sure such an important part of our heritage is redeveloped with the community, by the community and for the community,” they added.
LARC has consulted widely with local groups about the future of the hall and have repeatedly heard from young and old about the current lack of public space for young people and arts and cultural activities.
“It’s also disappointing that we hear about new proposals for the hall coming from councilors who know who we are and what we are trying to do. We would love to sit down with everyone interested in developing the Hall and see what we can do to make our vision of the hall a reality.”
“Our local representatives and business interests should indeed bite the bullet, and finally contribute the financial and political resources needed to create a space that could be hugely beneficial to Loughrea’s cultural, economic and community life,” the group concluded.
LARC’s proposals for the redevelopment of the building are available on their website www.loughreatownhall.com