Appeal to save first World War legion hall

British Legion hall in Killester, built in the 1920s as facility for war veterans, on sale for €50,000

One of the last remaining British legion halls in the State, built in Killester, Dublin for veterans of the first World War, has gone on sale for €50,000.

Local campaigners and politicians are calling on Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan to buy the hall to preserve it as a war memorial.

Some 247 houses were built in Killester between 1918 and 1922 for Irish ex-servicemen and their families by the Local Government Board on the “garden suburb” model. The hall was built in the early 1920s as a community facility.

In the 1960s it changed from a community hall to a sports centre, but remained in the ownership of the trustees of the British Legion until 2000, when it was sold for a sum understood to be in the region of €300,000.

Dublin City Council refused a number of applications for its redevelopment, including its use as an Educate Together primary school in 2002.

An application for a creche, which involved converting and extending the hall, was approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2011, despite a refusal recommendation by its inspector. This permission still stands. However the hall remains vacant and is now on sale through O'Farrell Cleere Auctioneers with a guide price of €50,000.

Labour city councillor Jane Horgan-Jones said the relatively low price offered an ideal opportunity to acquire the hall for the State.

“This is a building of huge historical importance and it would be a shame if this opportunity to preserve it for future generations was lost.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Arts and Heritage said it did not have the money as it already had set aside "significant taxpayer investment" in a number of Decade of Centenaries capital projects.