Bank building in Waterford town bought to house Ukrainian refugees

Former Bank of Ireland in Lismore to be adapted to create 'between 10 and 12 small family units'
Bank building in Waterford town bought to house Ukrainian refugees

The former Bank of Ireland in Lismore was bought by Waterford City and County Council for €290,000. Picture: Dan Linehan

Waterford City and County Council has purchased the former Bank of Ireland building in Lismore with a view to homing refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

The council plans to modernise the 140-year-old building to accommodate Ukrainians refugees, with other options to be explored when peace returns to Ukraine.

It intends to create "between 10 and 12 small family units, with a multi-set of bedrooms, shower facilities and communal kitchen use", according to Waterford council director of services for planning Kieran Kehoe.

The detached, two-and-half storey property — with a basement included — is set on 0.5 acres on West Street.

It was among 88 branch closures enacted last October, with Waterford Fine Gael councillor Declan Doocey subsequently calling on the council to purchase it.

Dating to about 1880, the building measures 1,360 sq m amid marble external cladding, arch window frames and stone chimney stacks.

Replacement marble cladding to the ground floor front elevation was undertaken during renovations about 1980.

Mr Kehoe commended Bank of Ireland for facilitating the purchase at “the very lower end of the market valuation” of €290,000.

He added that the bank looked favourably on the council's approach when informed of its intended uses.

However, Waterford Labour councillor Thomas Phelan said the bank should have “handed it over” for free.

Meanwhile, Mr Kehoe said the property was in “very good structural repair” and was currently being assessed by IPAS (International Protection Accommodation Services) representatives.

The building had not been used as a living quarters for about 20 years and an estimated upgrade within "a couple of hundred thousand euros" would focus “particularly on toilet and sanitary issues”, said the director.

The structure will be adapted to create between 10 and 12 small family units, with a multi-set of bedrooms, shower facilities and communal kitchen use.

Work is expected to start in a fortnight and be completed within four weeks.

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