Public meeting urged to discuss future of Carrick-on-Shannon town hall

County Council has identified a potential buyer of listed building

The former Town Hall in Carrick on Shannon. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Leitrim County Council has been urged to hold a public meeting to discuss the future of the town hall in Carrick-on-Shannon, a listed building dating back to the 1800s which the local authority is proposing to sell.

But a spokesperson for the council has confirmed that a potential buyer has been identified and that councillors will vote on Tuesday on a proposal to dispose of the landmark building under Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001.

A number of local residents have called for further consultation and have asked why the local authority did not seek funding to refurbish and maintain the property as a community or cultural facility.

Last March the council indicated that it was looking for “expressions of interest” in the building and it is understood that the proposed buyer is interested in acquiring the town hall for use as a business.


Some locals have questioned the speed with which the building on Bridge Street, is being disposed of, pointing out that it was built by the County Leitrim Grand Jury on a site provided free by the Whyte family, landlords of the town, after townspeople had petitioned for an assembly hall.

Local woman Evelyn McCabe said she was shocked, given the historic and architectural significance of the building, to learn just last March that the council had identified the property as an asset they could sell.

“They are drawing up a master plan for Carrick under the government’s Town Centre First scheme so why did they not seek funding for this building. Surely if Roscommon County Council could get funding to refurbish King House and the Royal Hotel [in Boyle] Leitrim should have sought funding for the town hall to ensure it is kept for the benefit of the community”, she said.

Local resident and political activist John Feely also expressed surprise, saying if the building was sold it could end up, for example, as an Airbnb to service the hens and stags trade. “It’s not that I have anything against hens and stags because they have brought some benefit to the town but not here, not in this building”.

Mr Feely said that given that Waterways Ireland had some years ago tried to build offices on the banks of the river in Carrick-on-Shannon, a plan which was abandoned due to local opposition, this might provide the cross-Border body established under the Belfast Agreement with an alternative base in the town.

Another critic of the proposal, local woman Geri Dunne, said she found it hard to believe that the council would even consider selling such a landmark historic building “without getting the views of the people of Carrick”.

She said millions had already been spent on an upgrade of the centre of town and this was an ideal project for the second phase of the regeneration.

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“Historic buildings like the town hall are part of Ireland’s heritage and are irreplaceable,” she added.

It is understood that the council believes that it would cost too much to make the building accessible as a museum or cultural/community centre given that the property is listed and steps at the front entrance could not be moved.

Currently serving as offices for some council staff, the building has been used in the past as a library.