A ministerial guarantee for millions of euro in capital funding will see the empty Kickham Barracks site become the location for Clonmel’s new, state of the art garda station.
The historic site, which was vacated by the defence forces earlier this year, will also host offices for LIT, the County Council and for the VEC, when it is redeveloped in the coming years.
News of the announcement will come as a great relief to the people of Clonmel, and surrounding areas, who feared the former army barracks would fall into dereliction, after the last 12th Infantry Battalion troops marched out eight months ago. However, this week Minister Alan Shatter gave a commitment to local TD Tom Hayes and County Manager Billy McEvoy, that he will commit capital funding for the development of the site in his 2014 budget allocation.
“The Minister has given his full backing to the plan,” Deputy Tom Hayes told The Nationalist, “He will provide funding as soon as possible, in the next round of capital funding.
“This is good news for the town, I’m very pleased that this has happened. LIT coming in there will ensure the future of third level education in South Tipperary.”
It is also hoped that the site will provide scope for business start-up development in the future.
Since the announcement of the barracks’ closure, exactly a year ago, many meetings have taken place, first in an attempt to reverse the decision and then to formulate a plan for the prime town site. Local interested groups came together to draw up an ‘Integration Plan.’
This Friday the ‘Draft Integration Plan’ will be discussed by representatives of the County Council, the VEC, the OPW, LIT and An Garda Siochana, at a meeting in the town.
South Tipperary County Council will become the new owners of the site, and will in turn come to agreements with the other bodies. No price for the sale from the Department of Defence to the County Council has yet been decided, according to Deputy Hayes.
As part of the new integration plan there will be a major refurbishment of the site. Deputy Hayes explained that while the new ‘tennants’ will try to make use of as much of the existing listed building facilites, some of the development will have to be a new build, especially to provide a state-of-the-art garda station.
Accepting that “funds are tight” in the country at the moment, Deputy Hayes said the development is likely to take place over a few years, and he expects work will take place in several phases.
“We have the broad base of the plan in place now and have the backing of the minister.”