Council officials are eyeing up the possibility of purchasing what is arguably Co Longford’s most historic tourist attraction.
Senior figureheads this week gave the go-ahead for preparatory work to commence on the proposed acquisition of a 13 century motte in Granard town.
The idea, put forward by Cllr PJ Reilly at a council meeting last week, was given the unanimous approval of elected members as well as Town Manager Jack Kilgallon.
The Fianna Fail representative’s suggestion came as councillors were presented with a copy of the Town Council’s “favourable” financial results for 2011.
“It is a credit to the Manager and past members of this Town Council as to how we are in such a good financial state,” said Cllr Reilly. “It would mark a very important investment by this council to the town of Granard and would be a huge asset to this Town Council. We were maybe unfortunate that it (Motte) wasn’t bought by the local authority the first time around, but now I feel this is a golden opportunity for the council to invest in the local community.”
Cllr Reilly was quick to stress, however, that any prospective deal would not interfere with current talks local community leaders were having with NAMA bosses over the purchase of 15 acres of land from NAMA.
That parcel of land together with two commercial units lie almost adjacent to the Motte in what local politicians hope will provide a much needed tourism boost to the north Longford town.
Cllr Reilly, speaking to the Leader following his appeal, said ongoing doubts over the future of town councils going forward meant the importance of getting county council approval could not be underestimated.
“If Granard Town Council is disbanded, it will automatically go back to the county council. If not, we would need to be in partnership with the county council as we would not be able to fund it or maintain it with the (budget) money we are on,” he said.
A letter, signalling Granard Town Council’s interest in the Motte, is to be sent to County Manager Tim Caffrey over the coming days.
Town Manager, Jack Kilgallon has already given his approval to the ambitious deal, describing Cllr Reilly’s proposition as an “excellent motion”.