Mayor of Castlebar Cllr Eugene McCormack is ‘very hopeful’ that ongoing negotiations will see Castlebar Town Council take control of the military barracks site in the town.
Official army control of the historic six-acre site concludes tomorrow while last Sunday saw the ceremonial departure of the 51st Infantry Battalion from the Castlebar Barracks.
They led the St Patrick’s Day Parade around the town on Sunday while the Barracks was open to visitors on the day. It is one of four military barracks in the country which has been put up for sale by the Department of Defence.
Castlebar Town Council has long expressed an interest in acquiring the property and Cllr McCormack says the council simply ‘have to get it’,
“Negotiations are at an advanced stage in terms of the council taking control of the barracks,” Cllr McCormack told The Mayo News yesterday. “I’m very hopeful that’s what will come to pass. The council will have to pay for the barracks - even though there were some suggestions that this wouldn’t be the case - and I think it is crucial the council gets hold of the property and who knows what might happen then.
”The council previously bought Turlough House when it came on the market and now it is a hugely successful museum attracting great visitor numbers to the area. Something similar could come to pass here.
“It is a beautiful piece of real estate right in the middle of the town. We have to get it. There were talks a number of years ago about the council buying the Barracks and the price of €4 million was mentioned. I’d be hoping that we’d be able to get it now for a small fraction of that price,” he said.
He added that maintenance of the site and buildings could cost €250,000 per year and that if the council do buy it, they would be looking for a phased payment rather than upfront. The buildings at the Barracks were constructed in 1831 but some of them have fallen into disrepair in recent years.
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