A DATE has yet to be set for the demolition of the old town hall in Clonakilty, though The Southern Star believes it could be in weeks, rather than months, and may even be sooner.
A spokesperson for Ward & Burke, the contractors carrying out the flood relief works in Clonakilty town centre, said the company is ‘awaiting instructions from the consultants for the Office of Public Works.’
Since the intention to knock the 200-year-old former masonic lodge – that subsequently served as a town hall from 1956 until 2001 – was first announced at a meeting of Cork County Council’s Western Committee in July, protests have been growing online.
The organisation, Save Cork City, have, for example, criticised the OPW and accused it of ‘wanting to demolish a perfectly salvageable historic building from the 1820s.’
The organisation said: ‘It’s bad enough that they are destroying the river habitat. This building can be restored.’
The county mayor, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), said he was aware that some people are reluctant to see the building – which is located on the bank of the River Feagle – reduced to rubble.
But he said it was the opportune time for Ward & Burke – which is currently engaged in sheet-piling the river bank – to take it down and create a new civic building for the benefit of the entire town.
The mayor said people need to be realistic because – aside from the fact that there is vegetation growing out through the roof – repeated structural surveys have confirmed it cannot be restored because it is ‘too far gone.’
Cllr O’Sullivan said: ‘It is, in fact, dangerous and anyone entering the building faces the risk of having the roof caving in.’
He said: ‘Clonakilty has been through three years of works and this has led to disruption, loss of parking and the disruption of business, and I am keen to avoid a situation where we delay flood works any further.
‘I don’t believe the building is worth the investment it would take to make it structurally sound. I also believe in progress, and I am confident that the plans for office space and an e-hub centre, which would replace what is there at present, would be of greater benefit to the town.’
A spokesperson for Cork County Council pointed out: ‘The new flood relief scheme will provide protection for more than 400 properties’ in the vicinity.