Government attempts to offload two recently closed garda stations looks set to spark a scramble within the local auctioneering industry.
Stations in both Newtowncashel and Ardagh, shut as part of cutbacks announced last January, were put up for sale this week by Leinster House bosses.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) have been assigned the task of finding estate agents keen on selling the now vacated properties.
Since that announcement, a number of auctioneers have already signalled their interest in taking the former stations under their property wing.
“I am going to,” said Sean Dalton of Dalton Auctioneers when asked if he intended on applying the OPW. “It’s business and nobody turns away business at this stage.”
Mr Dalton said despite the rural locations of both stations, the fact both properties required little or no renovation work would likely draw plenty of interest from would-be buyers.
“That’s a big thing,” he said. “Community groups, I’m sure, would be interested in them for meetings. They would be super for that kind of thing.”
Junior Minister Brian Hayes seemed to support that view, saying the Government had received “many requests” from various interest groups in the stations.
Meanwhile Jonathan Quinn, of Quinn Bros in Longford town, vowed to also “look at” contacting the OPW following last week’s announcement.
One station which wasn’t included by the Department of Justice was Ballinalee. Local Cllr Micheal Carrigy said he was not aware of any group having shown an interest in the former station or whether it would be auctioned off at a later stage.
The local postmaster, together with a small band of residents garnered publicity just weeks after the village station’s closure by opening up a sub office.
“We provided an alternative premises which has been working well,” he said.
Since then, homeowners have been able to meet gardai on a weekly basis. Cllr Carrigy said he hoped that facility would continue when a review by newly appointed Granard Garda Superintendent Seamus Boland is completed.