Green Party TD – Steven Matthews has made significant progress in bringing the former Bank of Ireland buildings in Carnew and Tinahely town centres to become remote work hubs and community spaces.
Through a series of meetings and engagements with bank officials and Wicklow County Council over the past 6 months, Wicklow County Council are strongly positioned to acquire the buildings. Discussing the process, Deputy Matthews said:
“The news last year that these bank units were closing was hugely disappointing and I first raised the matter with the Bank of Ireland Chief Executive at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance to see what could be done to repurpose the units. I then followed up with a meeting with officials from the Bank to get their assessment of potential community leases on the vacant buildings.
“Subsequently, I visited both sites and I then discussed my idea with Minister for Finance – Pascal Donohue and Minister for Rural Development – Heather Humphreys to seek their advice and experience on options we could pursue. I met again with Bank of Ireland to explore options on purchasing the buildings and engaged again with Wicklow County Council to examine potential funding, future enterprise use of the buildings and options to purchase.
“I have now brought the Bank of Ireland and Wicklow County Council together with a clear objective to acquire the buildings and I am very hopeful of a positive conclusion to this process.
“The former bank buildings are in good condition, well placedand well suited to use as work hubs having excellent broadband connectivity in place already. The creation of thesecommunity and work facilities can bring economic benefit to the town and hopefully more footfall and vibrancy to assist local business and provide residents with options for remote education and work opportunities.
“I regularly meet with West Wicklow residents and local groups who feel that this is a part of the county that often is neglected through lack of investment. With significant public realm investments announced for Blessington and Baltinglass recently, this investment in Carnew and Tinahely is well overdue, and I’m delighted to have brought Wicklow County Council and the Bank of Ireland together to complete the proposal.
“While some public representatives go no further than posting a photograph of themselves accompanied with a demanding but ultimately useless social media post, I believe that action, engagement, and negotiation is the best way to achieve results and I look forward to bringing these much-needed community facilities to Carnew and Tinahely and continued investment throughout all parts of West Wicklow, concluded Deputy Matthews.