FEARS FOR FUTURE OF NEW LIBRARY
The planned new library for Mitchelstown may now be put on hold indefinitely.
A meeting between the Cork county manager and Mitchelstown community groups is to take place in the County Hall on this Monday April 27 to discuss the future of Forrest Hall and the proposed new library at Sutton’s Court.
The planned sale of Forrest Hall has left many community groups angry that such a building should be sold at a time when there is a lack of facilities for clubs and youth groups in Mitchelstown.
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe told The Avondhu, “The sale of Forrest Hall is necessary for the development of the library at Sutton’s Court. A letter from the county manager to me last week has confirmed that there is no objection from him if the community groups or the parish wish to purchase Forrest Hall, but the fact remains that, without the sale of Forrest Hall, Mitchelstown will not have a new library.”
The letter from county manager Martin Riordan went on to state,’ In light of developments the project (the sale of Forrest Hall and the development of the new library) may now need to be put on hold particularly in view of the council’s deteriorating financial situation’.
Assistant county manager Tim Lucey this week told local councillors that the Forrest Hall building must be sold to facilitate the purchase of a premises for a library in the town.
“An agreement is in place to buy Sutton’s Court subject to the disposal of Forrest Hall,” Mr Lucey said at this week’s meeting of the Northern committee.
“We will not be able to buy Sutton’s Court if we do not get market value for Forrest Hall,” he insisted, adding that his warning comes following ‘significant public and community comment.’
“We are willing to sit with community representatives and discuss it with them. We could sell the building to the community but we must recover that value,” he added.
Chairman of the Northern committee, Cllr Liam O’Doherty said that certain public officials have led people to believe that the council was in a position to give Forrest Hall to the community for free or at a reduced price.
“The thought around Mitchelstown is that it will be given away for free. People have had their hopes built up,” he said.
Cllr O’Doherty alluded to the minutes of the previous meeting where a proposal by Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe to sell Forrest Hall to enable the council to buy Sutton’s Court for the purposes of establishing a library in Mitchelstown was seconded by Cllr Frank O’Flynn, and accused Cllr O’Flynn of misleading the public by suggesting that the Forrest Hall premises could be given to the community.
“I say we progress with what we proposed,” Cllr O’Keeffe said, “I welcome the manager’s commitment to sit with community groups but I stand by my motion last month to sell Forrest Hall to get a new library.”
Cllr Liam O’Doherty said that the proposal was agreed last month but it was not correctly relayed to the public by Cllr O’Flynn, who replied angrily to the allegation.
“Why did you go running to the paper?” Cllr O’Flynn asked, referring to last week’s issue of The Avondhu where Cllr O’Doherty first made the claim against him.
“I see this as an opportunity for the people and the community of Mitchelstown and Frank O’Flynn will stand up and fight for Mitchelstown,” he said.
“Did you fight for Mitchelstown when Dairygold were shedding jobs?” his Fianna Fail party colleague Cllr O’Keeffe replied.
Mr Lucey said that he wanted it recorded as fact that the council’s financial situation is deteriorating daily and that the local authority was not in a position to give away Forrest Hall. Any delays in securing Sutton’s Court, he added, jeopardises the possibility of securing a library for Mitchelstown.
Fr Michael Fitzgerald, parish priest in Mitchelstown, has welcomed the chance to meet with the county manager and council officials, “I know that we are in tough economic times but the fact remains that while Mitchelstown needs a new library, we need to invest now in the future of the town by looking after our youth. Forrest Hall is ideally situated to provide a meeting place for many community groups and clubs and we badly need a youth cafe for Mitchelstown.”.
Thursday 23rd April 7:26pm