State to pay €470k for former monastery

The Department of Education is to pay an "above the market value" €470,000 for a former Christian Brothers monastery in west Waterford.

State to pay €470k for former monastery

The purchase comes within 12 years of its previous owners, Waterford County Council, spending €3m renovating and installing it as the county library.

The two-storey, Gothic-style property is about 50m from Lismore’s Blackwater Community School and may be used to facilitate its special needs students.

The chairman of the school’s board of management, county councillor Declan Doocey, said sanction has not yet been obtained from the department as to what use the building will serve.

The purchase comes only months after the department issued a compulsory purchase order on three acres adjacent to the school, on which new classrooms are to be built.

Waterford County Council purchased the former monastery from the Christian Brothers for under €200,000 in the early 2000s. The council invested almost €1m in renovating the property for use as a one-stop-shop civic offices and it became the home of Lismore Town Council.

In 2005, the council spent nearly €2m building an adjoining structure in which it installed the county library, from which a 160sq m book store, book processing, mobile library, and school services operated.

With the abolition of town councils and the amalgamation of Waterford City and County into one local authority, the library service was moved to Waterford City and the office closed.

The sale was sanctioned by the July monthly meeting of the council city and c&ounty council.

Mr Doocey (FG) proposed the transaction. He described the building as looking “unloved” since its closure.

The council’s director of services, Brian Whyte, said the purchase price was “above the market value”.

Amid general support for the sale, council chairman James Tobin (FF) was a dissenting voice: “When the building was bought nobody could have foreseen that a man like Phil Hogan would come along and get rid of it. But who is to say that in 10 years time, a new minister will not come along and reverse things?”

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