Call for clarity on funds promised by sale of Magee Barracks in Kildare town

Council to fight 'tooth to nail' for money

Sarah Peppard

Reporter:

Sarah Peppard

Email:

sarah.peppard@leinsterleader.ie

Call for clarity on funds promised by sale of Magee Barracks in Kildare town

Magee Barracks in Kildare town was sold in March 2016

A call has been made for clarity surrounding funds promised to the local community through the sale of land at Magee Barracks in Kildare Town.

Members of Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District say a promise was made by a previous Minister to dedicate 10 acres of the site or the value thereof, which would be €1.64 million, to the community.

The council are calling on the Department of Defence to honour the longstanding commitments of community gain from the sale of the site in 2016.

Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy said the funds aren’t actually available to the council, and called on a report to be issued at the next MD meeting.

She said the council should ask “where and when the value fell off the table”.

Cllr Mark Stafford said the situation is somewhat like a “political football”, with the Government saying “the promise wasn’t made by us”. He said there was a specific commitment given centered around the Magee Barracks.

He called on members to identify specific projects to invest the money in.

A report issued by the council at the meeting said;

“Following an earlier query from the Department of Defence as to what use any funds transferred by the Department would be used for, a letter was issued advising that the then identified projects were the provision of the proposed facility at Cherry Avenue, and the preservation and enhancement of the Courthouse building.”

Cllr Stafford said it was disappointing that members of the council and the public weren’t consulted about what the money should be used for.

Mayor Sean Power said the council should “fight tooth and nail” to get what was promised.

The former Barracks sold at public auction in March 2016 for €8.2m, prompting demands at the time for a €1.64m community pay out as compensation by the Department of Defence, and to ensure the local community would benefit directly from the sale.

A letter was sent by the council to “seek the realisation of the commitment given by the Minister” (in 1998) following the closure of the Magee Barracks. The letter outlined that the contribution sought is based on 10 acres of land or the value thereof.

The issue has been ongoing since the sale in 2016, and has arisen at numerous council meetings.