Nenagh's Cllr Seamus Morris wants Tipperary council to develop town's military barracks

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Nenagh's Cllr Seamus Morris wants Tipperary council to develop town's military barracks

Nenagh's former military barracks

By ronan dodd ronan.dodd@tipperarystar.ie @tippstar

The development of the former military barracks in Nenagh could solve a lot of the town's problems, according to Cllr Seamus Morris.

The Independent councillor described the building as a "site that needs to be knocked".

The barracks has fallen into disrepair over the last number of years and Cllr Morris said it could be used by Nenagh CBS who are looking for space.

It could also be used as a community space with funding being provided through the EU and it could be used to develop sheltered housing for the elderly, he told Nenagh Municipal District Council.

He was supported by Tipperary County Council housing director Donal Purcell, who said he had watched the barracks fall “more and more into disrepair”.

However, he pointed out that while it was owned by the Department of the Defence, it was managed by the Department of Finance.

In relation to housing, he said the only programme available to the council was under Rebuilding Ireland.

There was also the fact that the building was a protected structure and there were a number of houses on the site as well as several rights of way.

“It is broader than a housing issue,” said Mr Purcell. “There are so many hurdles to be cleared.”

Housing officer Clare Curley also said that dealing with the military barracks was a “bigger issue that housing alone”.

Cllr Morris urged that the council write to the Department of Defence to see who did own the site.

“It is such an important site. It is going to fall down,” he said.

Cllr Morris recalled that the site had been offered to the former town council but it had been handed back because they wanted the owners to repatriate it.

“I imagine it could still be offered to somebody,” he said. “As a council we need to clean it up.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Morris has asked for a copy of a report done by a Belfast company on the barracks for Nenagh Town Council about 12 years ago.

He called on the council to write to the Department of Defence and have them supply a map of exactly what they own in the military barracks site, and who owns the rest of the site.

Nenagh MDC Cathaoirleach Cllr John Carroll described the barracks site as an “integral part of the town”.

District manager Marcus O'Connor agreed the site was strategically located and while it had a lot of complications, it shouldn't deter the council from having a plan.

“But we need to be clear what happens to it,” he said. “Demolition was raised but there was a lot of opposition because of its history.”

He said the first issue was planning and asked if the council wanted to remove its protected status.

“There would be opposition,” he warned.

In the meantime, said Cllr Joe Hannigan, there was a big pothole at the entrance that needed to be repaired.