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Crown Square move on the cards 16 months before councillors were told


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Crown Square move on the cards 16 months before councillors were told Crown Square move on the cards 16 months before councillors were told

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Management of Galway City Council was considering buying Crown Square to relocate City Hall to Mervue, at least 16 months before the plans became public or councillors were officially informed, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

This has led to fresh accusations that the process surrounding the purchase of the property on Monivea Road was “shrouded in secrecy”.

Conor Dowd of An Rabharta Glas-Green Left said it has highlighted a “complete lack of transparency” around City Council decision making.

The total cost to the Council is €56.6 million of public money. This includes a loan of €45.5m to buy the building shell and 200 carparking spaces, plus €11.1m from Council reserves for fit-out costs.

Councillors voted 16-1 at their meeting on July 11, 2022, to approve a loan of €45.5 from the Housing Finance Agency.

They approved the deal, having received a 43-page presentation outlining the rationale for it, which was circulated to councillors three days before the meeting.

It has emerged, however, that a draft of that final report, recommended 16 months previously that the Council should buy Crown Square, which was built by JJ Rhatigan and Co.

The draft “Report on City Hall Accommodation” was dated February 28, 2021, and marked “strictly confidential”.

It was released under Freedom of Information (FOI) to Conor Dowd.

The document outlined five options, which included refurbishing City Hall, extending City Hall, building a new City Hall on a green-field site, or exiting City Hall and renting offices.

It favoured option five, to exit City Hall and purchase a purpose-built building at Crown Square.

The draft report didn’t mention any other office buildings in the city as potential alternatives.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the May 12 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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