WORK on the €4 million Athy Community Library development has begun at the former Dominican church in Athy.
Minister for housing and urban renewal Damien English travelled to Athy to witness the start of the project, which is due to be completed by November. Minister English was welcomed to Athy by the mayor of County Kildare Ivan Keatley, Athy Municipal District cathaoirleach Aoife Breslin and Kildare County Council chief executive Peter Carey.
Kildare County Council bought the church and the adjoining lands from the Dominican Order and is now turning the former church into a state-of-the-art community library. The relocation of the existing library from the town hall will allow for the expansion of the Athy Heritage Centre, which recently received museum status.
Local TDs Martin Heydon and Fiona O’Loughlin, the former prior of the Dominican Order in Athy Fr John Walsh, representatives from Athy Municipal District and Kildare County Council staff joined key staff from the project team, including architects Reddy and Urbanism and construction company Duggan Lynch Construction Ltd to welcome minister English to the new development.
A statement from Kildare County Council said: “The library has been designed to meet the significant and diverse needs of the citizens of Athy and the surrounding environs and will act as a hub of educational, cultural, information and civic engagement resources. Located in the centre of Athy town, the site is considered an ideal location for this innovative library project as it offers excellent size and scope for a multi-faceted library and community service. Minister English was shown around the internal library spaces, the ground floor of which is some 880 square metres. The mezzanine level of 90 square metres will also be developed as an additional leisure reading and study space.”
The minister also took the opportunity to view the upgrade of the original priory building which has been transformed into high-quality housing provision under the management of the McVerry Trust.
Welcoming the start of work on the library, Athy Municipal District cathaoirleach Aoife Breslin said: “Jack Wall had the vision and the foresight to see the potential of this site and to seek funding for it to be developed in this way. Great credit is due to him for that.”