A debate over the future location of the department of housing in Longford town brought heated exchanges to the table at a recent local authority meeting.
The matter arose on the back of two motions put forward by Cllr PJ Reilly (FF) and Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) regarding the future plans for the town council building at the Market Square, once the authority is disbanded in June.
“I’d like if it could be used for corporate service,” said Cllr Nolan. “I heard rumours that the Co Council was planning to relocate the housing office there, and with 450 people per week visiting the housing department, the town council building is not appropriate for this office. There is no privacy, poor parking facilities and no room for buggies either. The town council building should be used as an amenity for the people of this town.”
Cllr Reilly agreed: “I also heard rumours that the housing section was moving up to the Market Square, and I don’t agree with it,” he said, adding that it was the busiest department in Longford. “It is just not appropriate to have the housing section there.”
Cllr Denis Glennon (FF) – who is retiring in June – raised the issue of anti-social behaviour on the Market Square.
“I wouldn’t like to see the building being used as an amenity either,” he said. “There is a lot of loitering around at the Market Square, and the ones that are doing it – well I don’t see them getting jobs either.
“It seems to be a generational thing, this loitering that is going on and it is not comfortable. It certainly does not do anything for the town either.”
Cllr Martin Mulleady (FF) then added, “They have a nick name on the Market Square now, and I’m not going to say here in a public forum what it is”.
In conclusion, Directior of Sevices, Frank Sheridan pointed out that there was approximately 17 years left on the lease of the Longford Town council building, and that every effort would be made to “make the best use of it”. “A working group was established to the determine the best use for the building, and the members views will be taken into account,” he added.
Speaking to the Leaderon Friday , Town Council Manager Dan Rooney said the current plan was to retain the premises as a public building.