Calls for old fire station to be turned into enterprise centre

WORK BEGINS . . . Cllr Sean Canney at the site of the new Tuam Fire Station on the Milltown Road.

As work commenced on the construction of a new fire station on a greenfield site in Tuam, questions were being asked as to what will happen the existing building when it becomes vacant.

There have now been suggestions that it be transformed into a much needed enterprise centre which could provide a base for smaller businesses.

And the fact that the building is located close to the town centre, it will add to its attractiveness from a commercial or business point of view. It is said to have a lot of potential.

Fears have been expressed that once Tuam Fire Station moves location, the old building will become redundant like some other Council-owned properties in the town and will fall into a state of dilapidation.

But Galway East TD Sean Canney believes that the old fire station can be utilised as an enterprise centre which could provide opportunities for start-up businesses.

He told The Connacht Tribune that he had been in touch with officials of Galway County Council to ensure that the property was not left vacant for any period of time.

As it stands, the Town Hall in the centre of Tuam is largely unoccupied and the same is the case with the old courthouse on the Dublin Road in Tuam – both of which are also owned by Galway County Council.

The old library in Tuam, which has now been leased to the Department of Social Protection, lay idle for almost ten years and this too is a building that is owned by the local authority. There have been suggestions that the Council sell their properties as the Council regularly say that they are strapped for cash.

But Deputy Canney believes that there is potential for the existing fire station building when it becomes vacant and will be working with a number of agencies in this regard. He will also be liaising with Galway County Council.

There had been suggestions that the fire station would accommodate arts space in the town but this had also been suggested with regard to the old library but was never made available by Galway County Council because of public liability insurance concerns.

Deputy Canney said that he had concerns with regard to the volume of local authority-owned properties in the county and would be asking that they be either utilised or disposed of.

Meanwhile, Deputy Canney has welcomed progress on the new €2 million Tuam Fire Station. The contract was signed with Carey Contractors, Galway and work began on the site on the Milltown Road in Tuam last week.

He said that the site is located on the N17 and the investment will provide a new modern facility for the emergency fire services serving Tuam and North Galway.

It is expected that the new fire station in Tuam will be completed in the autumn of next year and the Independent TD said that it would be a great boost to the area.

Deputy Canney explained that there will also be training facilities provided for new members of the fire service in Tuam and that its location would improve response times to emergency situations.

He described it as a ‘one stop shop’ for those who were interested in becoming part of the fire service in Tuam. There are two units currently operating out of Tuam and there are around 20 staff who make themselves available in the event of emergencies.