€84,171.60 ‘Ring’ fenced for Old Library Make-Over

Neighbour, Redmond Roche pointing out the dangers in the wake of the storm damage to the 'Old Library' in February 2014. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Neighbour, Redmond Roche pointing out the dangers in the wake of the storm damage to the ‘Old Library’ in February 2014. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Because he was better placed than anyone else in the locality at the time, Redmond Roche called for immediate action to be taken to remedy the fragile state of the roof of the old Carnegie Library.

One of the fine old ladies of buildings in the Castleisland area, it may have lost its books but it has certainly improved its looks in recent times.

That’s thanks to the Castleisland Chamber Alliance which was instrumental in an extensive makeover earlier this year – a fact also noted in the recent Tidy Towns report.

It’s all so different now, but back in February 12th 2014 the wicked Darwin’s Day Storm tore a hole in the roof and whipped slates from the southern side of the building.

The 'Old Library' in her 2017 makeover. ©Photograph: John Reidy

The ‘Old Library’ in her 2017 makeover. ©Photograph: John Reidy

While Redmond Roche pointed out the damage from his home just across the street, Cllr. Bobby O’Connell immediately called on Kerry County Council to step in before any further damage was done to the building. The roof was repaired and it rested so until this year’s upgrade in appearance inside and out.

While the roof was secured for the time being, its long term stability could not be assured.

This week, Cllr. O’Connell was back with the news that his party colleague and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD announced that Castleisland was among the rural towns and villages in a fresh round of renewal scheme funding.

Where the money goes in Kerry with Castleisland's purse highlighted.

Where the money goes in Kerry with Castleisland’s purse highlighted.

More importantly, the announcement reveals that over €84,000 has been made available for the refurbishment of the building in preparation for its new life as a tourism office and with an emphasis of the roof work.

Needless to say. Deputy Danny Healy Rae was also on to welcome the news of Minister Ring’s announcement.

The scheme is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and Minister Ring explained it thus:

“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is an important part of my Department’s work to rejuvenate and revitalise rural Ireland and should have a significant impact on towns and villages across the country.

“I have placed a particular emphasis this year on projects which have the capacity to support the economic development of rural town and villages as well as their neighbouring townlands. The scheme will also support improvements to public amenities in town and village centres, to help make them more attractive places in which to live and work and to visit.

“Funding awarded to individual towns and villages this year generally range from €20,000 to €100,000, with 40 projects receiving in excess of €100,000 for more ambitious proposals.”

The allocation of €21 million by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Town and Village Renewal scheme follows the roll out earlier this year of a range of other initiatives to support rural Ireland, including the CLÁR scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure scheme and the Local Improvement Scheme.

After the Storm Darwin damage I did a piece on The Old Library in which I looked at its history and you can click on the link here if you’d like to see that:

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