Council agree fee for Connolly Barracks

The Government has agreed to sell Longford’s Sean Connolly Barracks for a knockdown €450,000.

The Government has agreed to sell Longford’s Sean Connolly Barracks for a knockdown €450,000.

Department of Defence officials and executives from Longford County Council reached a compromise earlier this week after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations for the projected sale of the eight acre site.

The sudden disclosure also marks a major climb-down by government insiders and comes only months after a provisional €1m figure was placed on the historic premises.

Local Fine Gael TD James Bannon said the deal would see the Department of Defence occupying a “caretaker-like” role while council bosses work on implementing a suitable finance plan.

The Legan backbencher was however at pains to stress funding could also be obtained from a raft of other government agencies, provided the sale is ratified by councillors at its next monthly meeting.

“That is a possibility,” he said. “I have no doubt this (barracks sale) will play a major part in the further economic development of Longford town.”

Heaping particular praise on government advisors, Vincent Lowe and Brian Spain, Mr Bannon also revealed a recent Longford Leader article, which showed exclusive pictures from within the barracks, also played a part in eventually forcing Defence Minister Alan Shatter to drop the Government’s asking price.

“It did definitely. I pulled out all the stops and stressed to the minister that the barracks was ideal for a multifunctional development,” he said.

Mr Bannon said the next step for local authority executives was to put in place a conservation plan ahead of possible redevelopment works early in the New Year.