23 March 2011 2 Comments by The Northern Standard

Monday night’s meeting of Monaghan Town Council by Independent member Seamus Treanor of works that had recently taken place to the façade of the restored Monaghan Courthouse building in Church Square.
Colr Treanor said works that had been carried out to the windows and front door of the building amounted to “urban vandalism”, and made it look “like a 99c shop rather than a courthouse.”
Asking who had approved planning permission for the works, the Independent councillor said that the steel sheeting that had been applied to the doors and the windows took away from one of the finest buildings in the country. He believed it had taken in the region of €7 million to restore the building and he hoped that a few more €1,000s could be found to do a proper job on its façade.
He expressed the view that the nature of the works to the windows and door could not have arisen from security considerations, as “the windows are so low you could fall through them.”
Colr Treanor said the Courthouse had been a fine public building that used to draw visitors to the town who stopped there and had their photographs taken, but he feared that the next thing it would draw would be graffiti and spray guns.
Monaghan Co Council senior executive planner Toirleach Gourley, who was present at Monday might’s meeting to discuss a proposed Development Plan variation, said the Co Council had been monitoring and keeping an eye on this situation. However, works to buildings such as the Courthouse went through a process known as State development, and therefore a planning application was not made to Monaghan Town Council or Monaghan Co Council.
In such instances the State consulted with public bodies and took their recommendations on board. Mr Gourley pointed out that the plans put to Monaghan Co Council during the construction process were different to what was being constructed at the moment. Legislation allowed the State authority to take on board the comments of local authorities, but it did not compel them the State to rigorously adhere to them.
Mr Gourley said that this left the local authority in limbo in terms of enforcement because they were not the planning authority in relation to the development. They did not have a remit in relation to the matter, and there was therefore a concern over whether or not they could act in terms of enforcement because this was a State development.
To Cathaoirleach Robbie Gallagher, the planning official stated that the views of the Monaghan local authorities were sought as part of the consultative process. The difficulty was that the plans put in front of the Council, other State bodies and the public were different from what was being constructed at present. However, this was not a breach of planning control in relation to the local planning authority.
Colr Treanor said that the work that had taken place was defacing a beautiful building, that was the terrible thing about it. When people came to visit the town this was one building they wanted to see.
Full report in The Northern Standard


  • John Kennedy said:

    It’s pretty rich for Treanor to be criticising the work on the Courthouse when him and some of his “patriotic” colleagues were advocating the destruction of the architectural heritage of the same Courthouse by removing the coat of arms. I am sure that the majority of the population of Monaghan are mature enough to be able to realise that the coat of arms is an inoffensive reminder of our colonial past which we can live with rather than desecrating one of our finest pieces of architecture because of the insecurites of a tiny minority of our population. Thankfully these Philistines were defeated when it went to a vote, even though the OPW who were doing the work on the Courthouse had absolutely no obligation to listen to any other body – least of all a jumped-up Town Council! Treanor’s negative, scapegoat, blame-game politics are a disgrace. He is fast in pointing fingers and making accusations, but when it comes to coming up with something positive he is nowhere to be heard. If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem Mr. Treanor. The people of Monaghan are becoming wise to you at last.

  • Steve Latenne said:

    @ John Kennedy. I thought that it was Sinn Fein who lobbied to have the coat of arms removed.