Golf club beside Garda College should not be closed, Lowry says
Independent TD says the facility should not be affected by expansion at Templemore
Independent TD Michael Lowry has called for a golf club close to the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, not to be closed for the expansion of the training facility. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Independent TD Michael Lowry said there were options to expand and develop the Garda facility without encroaching on the golf club, “which is used extensively by locals”.
He said the college required increased classroom space, bedroom accommodation and parking for the expanded Garda recruitment programme.
Mr Lowry, who supports the Government, said: “I would ask that the development programme would take account of [the golf club].”
The Tipperary TD said the golf club had been controlled by the Garda authorities before it was handed over to the civilian membership.
He said that “a disagreement has arisen involving rent arrears at Templemore Golf Club” and he was “anxious to ensure the golf club, which has 300 members who value and appreciate the facility that is available to them, is retained”.
He also criticised the OPW’s purchase, “against Garda advice”, of 200 acres of land in Clonmore, about eight miles from the college.
Describing the purchase as a “green elephant”, he said the State should buy land adjacent to the Garda College to allow for its expansion.
Mr Lowry said the OPW had paid in the region of €5 million for the land, “an outrageously high price”, but nothing had happened since it was bought.
The Independent TD spoke of a “grandiose pie-in-the-sky plan to relocate the driving school, the firing range and the Garda mounted unit [at the college] to this land. It was never going to happen”.
Mr Lowry said the 200 acres should be sold “and land adjacent to the Garda College should be purchased to facilitate these plans”.
He also raised concerns about the college’s catering and cleaning staff, who “have a hugely increased workload, are completely understaffed and they feel that they are being treated very unfairly”.
The Tipperary TD warned that there was a great deal of discontent among staff, which had led strike threat.
He called on the Government to consider a more permanent accommodation solution for the college.
Programme of works
Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said a major OPW programme of works to improve the accommodation in the college was necessary and well-advanced, and that “further work may be required to provide additional facilities”.
He said “the Garda and the OPW are analysing the needs and precise requirements for the coming years”.
The Minister acknowledged Mr Lowry’s comments that the college was a significant source of employment in North Tipperary.
He said he did not have any details about either the golf club or the 200 acres purchased by the OPW, but that he would bring Mr Lowry’s comments to the attention of Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.
“I know she will be happy to engage directly with Deputy Lowry on the matter.”