The Department of Defence and senior local authority officials are expected to commence talks over the next few days aimed at thrashing out a deal for the protracted purchase of Longford’s Connolly Barracks.
Director of Services, Frank Sheridan said executives had sent a detailed number of suggestions to Leinster House following last week’s meeting of a barracks sub committee.
Mr Sheridan said both local authorities had received written confirmation outlining what the Government hoped to recoup from its sale.
“We received a copy of that valuation at the end of last week and we made a number of observations.
“That has gone back to the Department and we expect they will come back to us (councils) early next week. When we have got the observations back we will attempt to agree a price and then after that we will consider putting a payment plan in place,” he said.
Those comments were given a cautious welcome by Cllr Peggy Nolan. She said any price put on the barracks by the department needed to take into account its present well being.
“There are potholes all over the parade ground and a wall adjacent to private houses that will cost the department a fortune to reconstruct. It is my opinion that must be taken in control for the people of Co Longford but not if it gets any worse,” she said.
Issues over the barracks’ overall status was also raised by Cllr Paul Connell. The Tesco employee said there was every danger the site could follow the same path as that taken by McKee Barracks in Co Kildare.
Cllr Denis Glennon, meanwhile, pointed to the fact around €1m had already been handed over to the department as part of the county’s new VEC offices. This, he said, should be taken into consideration when talks between the department and council officials begin.
In signalling her approval, Cllr Mae Sexton said she was standing by her earlier admissions that no money for the transfer of the barracks should change hands.
“I have said right from the beginning that the people of Longford are entitled to that barracks free of charge. Valuations are all well and fine but who can value anything in the current climate?” she asked.