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18/09/2021

Not for sale: Fight back on to retain Dromahair Garda Station

Call to withdraw Dromahair Garda Station from auction

Not for sale: Fight back on to retain Dromahair Garda Station

The former garda station in Dromahair.

The fight is back on to retain the former garda station in Dromahair for community and public use.


The building is set to go to auction in September this year, after previous plans for a handover to the community fell through when the station was closed in 2013.
Cllr Mary Bohan asked members of Manorhamilton Municipal District along with the Leitrim County Council to write to Minister Patrick O’Donovan to “withdraw” the building from auction this week.
Cllr Bohan said a community group is putting together a “business plan” to take it over.

Read: Three former Leitrim garda stations prepare for auction


Cllr Frank Dolan assured members “there is no great danger this building will be sold.” He said the keys were handed over in 2013 to the community and “what happened was ridiculous.”
He said Minister O’Donovan won’t allow this to happen again and is looking for a business plan and a “committed” group to take it over.


Cllr Bohan agreed with the Fine Gael councillor that a business plan is needed but repeated she would like to see the building taken off the list of those heading to auction in September.

Cllr Felim Gurn said he understood there was great interest in former garda stations and two Leitrim stations had already been sold. He agreed Dromahair Garda Station should be taken off the auction list.
Cllr Frank Dolan again assured members “the minister has no interest in selling it.”


Chairperson of the meeting Cllr Sean McDermott said since the timeframe for the auction is not until Autumn, maybe they could investigate the situation and discuss at the next meeting in June.
Mary Quinn from Leitrim County Council said she would “establish the exact position.”
Frank Dolan said he would like to reassure everyone that “it is the wish of the minister to hand it over to a community group.”
But, he added “he will not hand it over like before.”
He said there was “shuffling about who would take it over and then it was dropped.” He asked the people of Dromahair to come together.


Background
Minister of State Brian Hayes officially handed over the keys of the former Garda Station in Dromahair for community use on July 19, 2013.
The intervening years have seen the group engage with the OPW but have been unsuccessful in their bid to secure a lease for the building.
They were offered a short term licence but this was not deemed acceptable to the group who required a lease in order to be eligible for grant aid.


The committee were awarded a licence to operate the building as a community facility by the OPW in 2015 but were told they would not be able to secure a lease for the building meaning funding would not be available to them.
In 2017 Peace IV funding fell through over issues with the lease.
The latest national review saw a decision to dispose 28 of the 40 garda stations closed in 2012 and 2013.
Dromahair is one of threeLeitrim stations listed for auction in September this year.

Also read: E-tender submitted for SNLR Greenway through Leitrim

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