Youghal court­house ‘should be turned into a tourist of­fice’

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Christy Parker

Cork County Coun­cil­lor Mary Line han-Fo­ley has called for Youghal’s for­mer court­house to be con­verted into a tourist of­fice, with the present tourism premises re­turned for use by lo­cal sail­ing in­ter­ests.

Both build­ings lie fac­ing each other at Mar­ket Square near the town cen­tre. The river­side lo­ca­tion is cen­tral to fes­ti­val ac­tiv­i­ties and is a stopoff for tour buses. The old court­house is a listed build­ing dat­ing from 1847. It served as the town’s court­house un­til the late 1990s when it closed for re­fur­bish­ment.

Fol­low­ing the restora­tion work the Court Services opted to con­tinue leas­ing the nearby Mall House, leav­ing the re­stored build­ing idle ever since.

Cllr Line­han-Fo­ley made her sug­ges­tion in a mo­tion tabled at Oc­to­ber’s East Cork mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict meet­ing.

She said a larger tourist of­fice is req­ui­site any­way given Youghal’s evolv­ing tourism and her­itage devel­op­ments. in­clud­ing Clock Gate tours, town walls restora­tion, pro­posed green­way, har­bour pon­toon ans board­walk phase 2.

The coun­cil­lor re­called the cur­rent tourist of­fice hav­ing up­stairs shower units, which were ac­ces­si­ble to the lo­cal sail­ing club and to boat users in years past.

Cllr Line­han-Fo­ley also sug­gested that her two-point pro­posal would be timely for next year’s first of three an­nual Iron­man Cork triathlons, the fin­ish­ing line for which is in Mar­ket Square. While Iron­man or­gan­ises its own in­fra­struc­ture, the coun­cil­lor an­tic­i­pates a con­sid­er­able in­crease in tourism.

The Court Services has al­ready in­di­cated a will­ing­ness to trans­fer the court house for com­mu­nity pur­posess, fol­low­ing a 2017 mo­tion adoped on be­half of Cllr Line­han-Fo­ley.

That ad­vo­cated re­lo­cat­ing the town li­brary in the build­ing but an al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tion is now ear­marked.

Amidst unan­i­mous sup­port for the pro­posal, se­nior ex­ec­u­tive officer Seán O’Cal­laghan cau­tioned that “tak­ing on such a build­ing as the court house comes with li­a­bil­i­ties too.” He said an au­dit on the con­di­tion of the build­ing was un­der­way.

Mean­while chair­man Cllr Noel Collins while sup­port­ing the mo­tion, cited an al­ter­na­tive us­age for ei­ther build­ing as a home­less hos­tel, should the plans fail.

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