PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH ENTERPRISE CENTRE AT FORMER MONAGHAN CUSTOMS SITE

21 April 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A Sinn Féin motion adopted at Monday night’s meeting of Monaghan Town Council could see a former Customs premises in the town transformed into an employment creation resource.
Sean Conlon won unanimous support from the town authority when he moved that, in an effort to stimulate economic development by way of facilitating job creation initiatives, the Council engage with relevant national and local agencies with a view to establishing an Enterprise Centre on the site of the former Revenue Commissioners building on the Armagh Road.
The Council are to seek the backing of Government Ministers for the plan and hope to see an arrangement put in place similar to that which saw ownership of the former Monaghan Military Barracks site at Knockaconny acquired by Co Monaghan Vocational Education Committee for the development of a multi-purpose education complex.
Colr Conlon told Monday night’s meeting that the SF proposal aimed to arrest the continuing economic decline the town and wider region was experiencing by offering practical support to the highly motivated entrepreneurial spirit that existed within the people of Monaghan, and reversing the vortex of emigration.
He proposed that the Council write to the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Brian Hayes, and John Perry, Minister of State with responsibility for small business, eliciting their support for the proposal.
Colr Conlon said he had discussed the matter with Monaghan Co Council senior planner Adrian Hughes, and in an overview Mr Hughes said he could not see any difficulty arising from the change of use of the premises, which he thought could be used as an enterprise centre. He had also spoken to John McEnteggart of the Co Enterprise Board who endorsed the spirit of the motion and offered any practical support he could give.
Colr Conlon pointed out that the property in question was a very useful one, and contained a large warehouse and an office block. He thought it could be used for light engineering or light manufacturing assembly, and suggested that the M-tek buildings and an enterprise facility in Castleblayney were good models for the development he envisaged.
The concept of transferring property within Government Depts was not new, as Monaghan had recently experienced with the former Military Barracks site moving from the Dept of Defence to the Dept of Education. He pointed out that the Blacklion Enterprise Centre in Co Cavan had formerly been a Customs building.
Colr Conlon said the new Government had been talking of a jobs initiative and microbusiness funding, and this was an opportunity for them to put their money where their mouth was. He was hopeful some meetings regarding the outworking of the concept could be arranged with relevant national and local agencies, such as FÁS and Monaghan Integrated Development. It was a shame to see such a fine property go to waste and not be used.
Paul McGeown said he would support the proposal from a small business point of view. The premises in question was in an ideal location very close to the centre of town. He thought it was an ideal place for small businesses to set up, as costs would not be as high.

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