A HERITAGE group hoping to buy back a community building was left devastated after the building was sold to an international buyer.
The Trim Heritage Co-op had painstakingly gathered €100,000 ahead of the Allsop auction in Dublin.
They had hoped to purchase a building in the Meath town which was put up for auction by a receiver -- however the lot was withdrawn after auctioneers insisted that the reserve price of €195,000 be met.
Afterwards, group members met with the sellers and while they were unable to reach an agreement, they were hopeful that negotiations would continue throughout the week.
However, the Irish Independent learned last night that the building was sold to a buyer outside the country "for an undisclosed sum". Until contacted by this newspaper, the group had been unaware of the deal.
"We are terribly disappointed if this is in fact the case," said Michael Kenny of the co-op.
"We went up to buy this building and the message that they left us with was that they'd stew on it for a couple of days."
The locals had wanted to use the building for community purposes including as a folk park, a heritage museum and sensory garden.
Before the auction, Mr Kenny had pleaded with those present not to bid against them.
The building in question currently houses the MIDWAY services, an organisation for people with intellectual disabilities.
Allsop Space Director of Auctions Robert Hoban denied that the event was a bargain-basement-style property sale.