I have expressed my disappointment that the building formerly used by Fáilte Ireland in Salthill remains empty approximately ten years after the departure of Fáilte Ireland. I have raised this matter repeatedly both as a former Councillor and now as TD.
I felt matters were finally progressing when the City Council confirmed towards the end of 2020 that they were inviting expressions of interest for the use of the building. That process did take place and there were seven expressions of interest. Unfortunately, the interview panel found that none of the applicants was suitable and confirmed at the end of April that they would be opening another round of expressions of interest.
It now appears, however, that this hasn’t happened because the City Council is currently undertaking a safety audit of the building. While accepting that this is necessary, it is very difficult to understand how this was not carried out before expressions of interest were sought and it is unacceptable to have a building open for so long.
The next selection process must be done as quickly and as efficiently as possible to ensure that the building is occupied. In this regard, I am aware of many community groups and organisations crying out for a premises and any proposed scoring system must give weight to community organisations. In addition, and to reflect this, the interview panel must include representatives from the community and voluntary sector.