Mullingar community and voluntary groups must be allowed to retain use of buildings at old Columb Barracks site

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford –Westmeath, Robert Troy has said that the protected buildings at Columb Barracks must continue to be made available to local voluntary groups irrespective of what happens with regards to housing developments on the site.

Deputy Troy was commenting after it became clear that the commitment to ensure that these excellent groups retain access is not as secure as was once thought.

“Without question, a new management structure needs to be put in place to ensure that the groups can continue to use the facilities in a sustainable way.

“However, doubts have now emerged as to whether these groups will be allowed to continue using the protected buildings at the barracks. This is not acceptable.

“To my mind, this apparent back-sliding tells its own story about how Fine Gael views the community and voluntary sector in Mullingar. Obviously and absolutely, we need housing on the site and I fully support this effort. Indeed, I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t support building housing but it is important that those who will live in these homes enjoy the same community facilities that are available to existing residents.

“Local politicians claiming that a recent letter was an administrative error need to up their game. A letter from an Assistant Principal Officer is a serious matter.

“It’s clear to me that the Department of Housing want these community and voluntary groups out, but this is a terrible example of short term thinking and Fianna Fáil will not support such a move. This needs to be reversed and these facilities need to be protected and nurtured for existing and future residents in Mullingar,” concluded Troy.