Last week’s meeting of Longford Municipal District heard that Longford County Council is paying a total of €147,000 a year in annual rental and refurbishment costs on its former Town Council offices.
Elected members were told the council remains locked in a 16 year rental lease on the Market Square building at €62,000 per annum. On top of that an additional €85,000 is being repaid every year for refurbishment costs.
The terms of those conditions remain in place until 2022 at the earliest when the Council’s agreement to meet its annual refurbishment bill comes to an end.
Cllr Peggy Nolan led the protests and asked why she had been provided with a very different set of figures to those reported in the Longford Leader last week.
“When you ask a prudent question at a budget meeting, you expect a very clear and concise answer, so I am asking again what is the rent?” Cllr Nolan asked.
“€62,000 was not the answer given to me.
“The answer I got when I asked what was the rent on this building when we were ratifying the budget was €147,000.
“Sure do you know what, we could build the Eiffel tower at the end of the Ballinalee road for that.”
Cllr Nolan said she had been left to feel “very, very, very belittled” by the whole saga.
“This bill is on the backs of the people of Longford and we weren’t engaged with at all at the time,” she continued.
“One figure was given to me at that meeting and another was given to the press. That’s uncalled for.”
Director of Services Frank Sheridan said that there had not been any attempt to mislead Cllr Nolan.
He also revealed talks were progressing with Irish Water chiefs in an attempt to ensure they would take over the building’s running costs.
Cllr Seamus Butler said, whatever about the rights and wrongs of the former Town Council office’s overheads, reaching agreement with a third party to assume those costs was essential.
But he dismissed the idea that Irish Water would come to the rescue.
“Dream on, dream on,” was his reply on the possibility of Irish Water taking up office.
“If we (Council) have a problem on the Ballinalee road, we have to ring Cork.”
“We haven’t too brass pennies to rub together.”