Monday 20 November 2017

Call to turn unused historic building into community facilities

John Manning

A TIMELY motion calling on the council to explore opportunities to turn unused and historic buildings in Balbriggan into community facilities has passed as the council continues to look into turning the historic Gallen's Mill into a museum and library.

In last week's edition of the Fingal Independent, we revealed that a 19th century linen and cotton mill in Balbriggan could become the town's next major community facility with the council understood to be exploring the possibility of making it the home of a new local library and museum.

Plans revealed in the Fingal Independent, earlier this year, to bring Department of Social Welfare staff to Balbriggan Town Hall after the demise of Balbriggan Town Council next year, may necessitate finding a new home for at least part of the town's library.

The old Carnegie Library wing of the town hall will not be used by the Department of Social Welfare, but it is understood that the department will require the entire floor space of the modern wing of the building.

There has been a long-standing campaign locally for a new museum space for Balbriggan and the council is looking at the possibility of acquiring the iconic Gallen's Mills to house both projects, the Fingal Independent understands.

The building is currently in the hands of receivers so the council could pick up a bargain if it decided to acquire it.

Cllr Ciaran Byrne (Lab), who has already publicly welcomed those investigations by the council. Last week proposed a motion, calling on the local authority to look at securing a large building that could host facilities like a maritime museum in Balbriggan.

Council officials were reluctant to comment on their efforts in relation to Gallen's Mill, saying no contracts had been signed and no deals had been done but said discussions were ongoing on the project.

Cllr Byrne said that Balbriggan had a young population and there simply was not enough social infrastructure and community facilities available in the town.

He said that buildings like Gallen's Mill should be brought into community house and could house all kinds of activities from a museum to a performance space to facilities for local clubs and community groups.

Fingal Independent

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