A call has been made to turn a derelict former convent in a Laois town into a vibrant digital enterprise hub.
The issue of the old Presentation Convent on Main Street in Stradbally came before yesterday’s meeting of the Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District.
The building, constructed back in 1880 and one time a home to nuns, has not been in use for almost 20 years.
Fianna Fail Councillor Paschal McEvoy would like to see Laois County Council purchase the building and put it to good use.
He referenced similar projects in Mountrath and Mountmellick which have brought employment to those areas and enhanced the quality of life of the people who live there.
Cllr McEvoy said: “I want this Council make contact with the owners of the old convent in Stradbally with a view to purchasing the building and turning it into an enterprise hub and a facility to allow hot desks.
“This building has changed hands many times over the years.
“It is a protected structured and is the perfect site for enterprise. We have many people working from home in Stradbally and the surrounding areas who would love it.
“Look at what has been done in Mountrath and Mountmellick, I will continue to push for this in Stradbally.
“We want to stop people having to commute long distances for work and facilities like these will be crucial in helping to do that.”
Cllr McEvoy received support from Cllrs Aisling Moran, PJ Kelly and Aidan Mullins.
In response, Senior Planner Angela McEvoy said: “The site is on the Derelict sites register and is also a protected structure.
“The Planning Authority has served notice on the owner on this building requesting works to be carried out and are trying to engage with the owner in this regard.
“Consideration of its potential for economic development opportunities will be undertaken by the Business Support Unit.”