Clarity needed on plans for five council owned houses vacant for over 10 years

Galway Daily news Grant funding for exciting new exhibition at Galway City Museum

Galway TD Catherine Connolly has said there needs to be greater clarification on plans for five council owned which have been left vacant for over ten years.

The city council acquired five houses on Merchant’s road Lower in 2007/8 to develop as culture and arts venues as part of development of a cultural quarter that includes a major expansion to the city museum.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly had made queries to city management about why the five houses remain vacant after so long back in August 2018.

“That these houses have remained unoccupied since that time in the midst of a housing crisis is totally unacceptable,” said Deputy Connolly.

“These houses were purchased with the express intention to be used as dwellings for artisans, and if they are not going to be used for that purpose, they should be used for housing people.”

Also discussed was progress in delivering a major expansion to Galway city museum which has been in the works for many years.

Since opening in 2006 the museum has grown in its attraction as a part of the city’s cultural offering, and now brings in 250,000 visitors every year

In December the council received approval to draw down a €3.5 million loan to advance the project, subject to Fáilte Ireland granting funding of not less than €5 million.

According to Deputy Connolly, city manager Brendan McGrath confirmed to her that a funding application was in train from Fáilte Ireland under its ‘Large Grants Scheme’.

“While I welcome this progress, this is a substantial amount of public money which has to be openly accounted for and every step of the drawdown of the money has to be publicly accounted for.”

She added that the city council must disclose the details of any agreement that is drawn up with Fáilte Ireland, and that the city museum must remain “open and available to all” without any entry fee.

“This is the essence of what a museum is all about and it is one of the great success stories of the Galway Museum that more and more people are visiting this public building and using it as an educational facility.”