Council spurns Longford Pipe Band permanent home appeal

Council spurns Longford Pipe Band permanent home appeal

Efforts to secure a permanent home for the Longford Pipe Band looks set to drag on after local authority chiefs turned down appeals to provide a space inside Connolly Barracks.

Cllr Peggy Nolan had sought the local authority's approval for the move, citing the group's long established association with the county.

“I remember going back to the time of the (Longford) Town Council  when they were in need of uniforms it was never questioned,” she said.

 The long-serving local representative said while she was acutely aware of plans to include the barracks as part of the town's so-called 'Northern Quarter',  her focus was to urge  fellow members to row in behind her appeal.

One of those to take up that invite was Cllr Mae Sexton.

She attested to the treasured esteem in which the band continued to be held and to the cost benefits of having a dedicated pipe band at close quarters.

“We (Council) honoured the Pipe Band before Christmas for a civic reception and they have served the county well by being available at the drop of a hat.

 Cllr Sexton said   by afforrding the band a  section of the former barracks there was every chance their expertise could be passed on to the next generation.

“They have been at every occasion, football matches you name it and they need a permanent home at this stage,” she said.

“It's a terrific group and if they had  a home I am sure they could generate a certain amount of money to teach the bagpipes.”

Cllr Seamus Butler said it was incumbent on the local authority to ensure a “social and community dividend” for groups like the Pipe Band was reached from the Northern Quarter's  proposed regeneration.

“I don't think the people of Longford will ever forgive us if it is just put into the hands of a developer,” he said.

Despite those overtures Director of Services Barbara Heslin said the Council was simply not in a position to offer a suitable space inside the barracks for the band.

“The Executive and Council are very supportive of Longford Pipe Band and the pivotal role it has in our community, culture and history.

“Unfortunately the Council is not in a position to offer the pipe band a permanent home as the facilities there at present aren't suitable for meetings and rehearsals.”