Galway County Council has given the green light to leasing the former Tuam Public Library building to the OPW to be used as an Intreo office.
Councillors agreed to the arrangement, which will see the OPW spending up to €1.7m on a refurbishment of the Shop Street premises and which will raise rent of €78,000 annually as well as rates for the next 25 years.
Councillors first voted to revoke a previous leasing arrangement made in September 2015 making way for this new lease.
The OPW will carry out major works on external drainage, substantial works to the roofs and restore heritage windows to the front of the building at a further investment of €200,000. This work will future proof the building, which will revert back to the council after 25 years.
The project has been welcomed by councillors who described it this week as a ‘win win’ situation.
Minister of State at the OPW, Seán Canney also welcomed the news this week saying it had been a project he was working on since becoming a Minister.
“The project will now go to tender and when that tender process is complete works will go ahead on the former library premises,” added Minister Canney.
Intreo is a single point of contact for all employment and income supports from the Department of Social Protection. Designed to provide a more streamlined approach, Intreo offers practical, tailored employment services and supports for jobseekers and employers alike.
“I am particularly pleased that a vacant building in Shop Street will be brought back to life and become an important hub of activity in the town again,” said Minister Canney. “It is important that we continue to bring the centre of the town back to life. We must increase the footfall in the town centre in order to rejuvenate the town.”
Cllr Karey McHugh stressed that the Council adopt a policy of using vacant premises for community purposes instead of allowing them to remain disused for years and falling into disrepair.
She said that there were many community groups, like the Scouts, youth and theatre groups who had nowhere to go for years in Tuam while a building like the former Tuam Library lay vacant.