Nenagh’s military barracks: Its fate rests with the Department of Defence
The fate of Nenagh’s historical military barracks rests in the hands of the Department of Defence, local councillors have been told.
They were told at the July meeting of Nenagh Municipal District Council that the county registrar is in the process of getting titles for the barracks and its buildings and they would then be vested freehold in the Department.
The most likely scenario then is that it will be put up for sale.
But, ultimately, the barracks, which dates to around 1750, may be demolished due to its bad state of repair.
The issue was raised by Cllr Seamus Morris who pointed out that trees were growing out over its wall and into the Hawthorns housing estate.
He also said that work carried out by the Department on its entrance piers was “awful” and looked for a meeting with the Department on its future.
He was supported by district cathaoirleach Cllr Michael O’Meara, who pointed out the work that had been done on Kickham barracks in Clonmel.
“This is in the middle of Nenagh and when you look at the exciting development coming down the line for Nenagh, I'd hate to see the barracks being left behind,” he said. “We should try to bring it back to the building it once was.”
Cllr Ger Darcy said the barracks was a “significant site in a town that had come on in leaps and bounds”.
However, district administrator Rosemary Joyce explained that the Department of Defence wants to put the barracks on the market, and that the county registrar was preparing the titles to award freehold of the property to the Minister and the Department.
“Once they have title, they intend putting it on the market,” she said.
Her comments led to some anxiety among councillors, with Cllr O’Meara saying: “Hopefully, we will show an interest when it comes to the market.”
Cllr Joe Hannigan asked if its future had ever been discussed.
“The barracks should be kept for Nenagh. It is a cop out to put it on the market,” he declared. “It is historically important to Nenagh.”
However, Ms Joyce said that discussion on the barracks had been “going on for decades”, back to the time of Nenagh Town Council, and the biggest issue had always been the title.
“The barracks is no longer structurally sound and to do anything with it would cost millions. We would be taking on a considerable liability. Nothing further will be done until the title is sorted,” she said.
District manager Marcus O’Connor agreed with Ms Joyce, saying: “The building is not in any condition to do anything with it. It was put on the open market 15 years ago and there were no takers. In my opinion, the only effective long term strategy is to knock it,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said there were other ways to be respectful to its history, but in his view, the building should be knocked.
Cllr Morris replied that he appreciated what Mr O’Connor said about it being the Department’s responsibility to keep it safe, but, he said, it was a strategic site for the town.
“I’ve had interest from New York in the site,” he said. “My only worry is the building is going to fall. The Department has made no effort to make it safe and stop people from getting in,” he said.
He agreed with Mr O’Connor that the council would be “mad to touch that site”.
“I’d hate to see it being knocked,” said Cllr O’Meara.
Mr O’Connor said they were not proposing that it be knocked, that would be up to any new owners, but if it were to be knocked it should be done properly “and not let fall overnight”.
He also agreed that it was a strategic site for the town and pointed out that the local school was constrained for space and could use some of its land.
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