Councillors in Ashbourne have been informed that the Meath County Council desk in the town will be closed, along with the Municipal District chamber and the Toradh Gallery, for the foreseeable future due to recent structural damage.
On a more positive note, Meath County Council further confirmed that the Ashbourne Library and community rooms in the civic office building, which sustained less damage, will be renovated and are expected to be open in April.
Responding to this update local Sinn Féin councillor Darren O'Rourke said; "All of this is really difficult for the local community. It's very disappointing that these important facilities have to close at all. One would expect that any modern building would be fit to handle a heavy downpour of snow. One would further expect that any building which is used by large numbers of people, including children, would be built to the highest standard. This is essential in terms of health and safety and is of primary concern.
"This morning, the council confirmed to us that the library and community rooms in the Civic Office will be opened in April. It is a very difficult wait for the groups that use these facilities. Absolutely no contingency has been provided for them. The council did concede that they would explore contingency if the April deadline is passed, but not until then. The facilities will be renovated in the meantime.
"News on the other end of the building, housing the Meath County Council hot-desk, the Municipal District chamber and the Toradh Gallery, is of even more concern. Structural engineers are continuing their assessment. Floor tiles have ruptured, as has plaster on the walls. Initial indications are that the damage is not related to pyrite but we await a full report when the assessment is completed.
"Importantly, Meath County Council confirmed that they are committed to reopening this facility, regardless of the money available through insurance policies. The building will reopen in full, we are assured. Councillors were unanimous in their opinion that funding for remediation work should not affect existing and future plans for Ashbourne."