I read in this weeks Limerick Post newspaper (Saturday 29 October 2011 edition, page 36) that the old Jesuit Church on O’Connell Street is being considered as a location for the city library. For whatever reason, the plan is to relocate it from where it currently is in the Granary building on Michael Street to somewhere else.
The church has a lot of things going for it:
- It’s in the city centre.
- It’s a fine building that would be well suited to being a library. There are plenty of examples throughout the world of similar buildings being used for this purpose.
- It would cost a lot less to convert the church to a library than it would to build a brand new building.
- It would not be the subject of a long drawn out planning application (unlike a new build).
- It’s within easy walking distance from a large number of primary and secondary schools and third level institutions.
Really, it could not be more ideal.
But Pat Dowling, who is the director of services in the city council with responsibility for over-seeing the planned move, sounds like he wishes nobody had suggested the old Jesuit church. According to Mr. Dowling, who was speaking at a meeting of the Sports and Culture ‘strategic policy commitee’ meeting this week, the council are
“considering the matter but it would take 10 years to deliver a library there – it is just not a simple matter of acquiring the building and transforming it into a library – there would be a lot of detailed planning and long-term strategic policy involved.”
There you have it. One of the most bizarre comments you’re likely to read for a while. It takes longer to retrofit an existing building than to to procure, plan, design and build a new one, according to Mr. Dowling. It would take 10 years apparently.
It seems that the City Council have their hearts set on a new building, no matter how suitable or inexpensive an existing building might be. Mr. Dowling revealed in the meeting that
“an application for a new library building in the potato market has been submitted to the Department of Environment and that funding has been allocated for the project.”