Closed Garda stations retained for community use

Two Kerry parishes have succeeded in retaining closed Garda stations for community use.

Minister of State Brian Hayes, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works, is due to visit Beaufort and Ballinskelligs this week formally to hand over the keys to local groups.

Both communities submitted business plans for future use of the buildings.

They had earlier lobbied unsuccessfully for the retention of the stations and for a continuing Garda presence in their areas.

Beaufort Community Council has proposed a one-stop-shop with rooms at the station to be used by various groups for meetings and the grounds to include a children’s playground.

Upwards of 20 voluntary groups are expected to make use of the Beaufort facility.

A similar application was made by Coiste Forbartha Baile na Sceilige in regard to the Ballinskelligs station.

Specified community uses for former Garda stations include a meeting point, amateur dramatics, parents’ associations, festival committees, sporting groups, location for presentation of prizes following events, scouts, dancing groups, active retirement facilities, card games, training courses and children’s parties.

Mr Hayes said two options are considered before the stations were handed over to communities — other state uses, or sale on the open market.

The Government plans to sell 40 of the closed stations nationally, in 21 separate lots, marking the first phase of a disposal programme following the closure of 139 stations in the past 18 months.

Estate agents across the country have been invited to express their interest in disposing of the properties.

Many of the stations have communications masts attached and some communities have not applied for use of these stations because of that.


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