Castlebar councillors recommend sale of old library

A resolution to recommend that Mayo County Council dispose of the old Castlebar library by selling to a private buyer, was agreed by Castlebar councillors this week - with just one dissenting voice, Cllr Michael Kilcoyne. The matter will now go back before Mayo County Council for approval by members.

The land in question was purchased by Mayo County Council circa 1939 for £250 for the purposes of providing a library building, which opened in November 1942 and operated as the County library up to the early 2000s before relocating to a larger premises at John Moore Road, Castlebar. The property was fully vacated in 2007.

A number of development constraints were noted with the site and given the size of the property at 0.115ha and its condition, it was considered unsuitable for corporate office accommodation needs. Provision of housing was considered by the council, but it was deemed a potential costly exercise due to a difference in the site level of the site to adjoining properties and the location of the ESB substation.

At their October meeting this week Castlebar councillors discussed the pros and cons of selling the council-owned land but in the end agreed there were issues with the site which could make it difficult to develop, including a dangerous drop of around 40ft at the rear. The proposal to sell it to Ward McEllin of Mountain View for €260,000 was approved.

Cllr Michael Kilcoyne was a lone voice in not supporting the proposal, saying: "I see I am on my own. I marvel that in 1938 people were able to build on this site and we find a whole load of reasons why we can’t. Here we want to sell off more property belonging to Mayo County Council, when we badly need accommodation in this town; and we are prepared to sell of with no conditions attached at all, such as, that it has to be developed next year. It is just carte blanche; hand over the family silver. Why not come and talk to the people in the town here who have to sleep in cars and doorways. Ye are entitled to put in these clauses but ye don’t. I will oppose it at the MCC meeting."

Cllr Ger Deere commented: "You were mad to sell it a few years ago yourself", to which Cllr Kilcoyne replied: "No people were sleeping in doorways in Castlebar back then."


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