Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the progress that has been made in the possibility of transferring the Old Ashford Garda Station into community ownership. Deputy Brady has said that the vacant Garda station in the middle of Ashford that has been unused for nearly 20 years provides an opportunity to be a fantastic community centre for the area.
Deputy Brady said “Over the last year I have been engaged with the Gardaí and the Office of Public Works (OPW) in relation to the now vacant Garda station in Ashford. The Garda station has been unoccupied since it was extensively damaged in 2003. Last August the OPW informed me that there are no plans to redevelop the Garda station and that they would be prepared to dispose of the property.”
“I have spoken to officials in Wicklow County Council about the prospect of the council acquiring the property for community purposes. I’m delighted that the council also sees this as an opportunity to provide a community facility for the people of Ashford and have engaged with the OPW.”
“In line with the OPW’s policy for vacant and surplus properties, the Garda station in Ashford is now being prepared for disposal. They have informed me that the valuations office must first value the property and the site and that they will then engage with the council again.”
“The Garda station which has been lying vacant now for nearly 20 years having been badly damaged in an arson attack is in a very poor condition. This must be taken into consideration by the OPW and the fact that it will cost a considerable amount of money to refurbish the premises and develop the site as a community centre. The notion of one state body potentially charging another the current market value for a state asset makes no sense.”
“I have written to Minister Patrick O’Donovan who has the responsibility for the OPW and asked him to ensure that the Garda station is transferred to Wicklow County Council with minimal costs so that it can be utilised for the community of Ashford.”
Deputy Brady concluded “I welcome the progress that has been made on turning this vacant property into potentially a community hub, I also commend the work that has been done in progressing it by Wicklow County Council. I will continue to work with all the stakeholders in turning this derelict building and site into a fantastic community facility for a quickly growing Ashford.”