'End of an era' as iconic Edenderry building demolition confirmed
Fine Gael councillor Noel Cribbin has described as "the end of an era" the planned demolition of the old Tesco building in the centre of Edenderry. The fate of the building was confirmed at the October meeting of Offaly County Council on Monday.
"Today is a bittersweet day for the residents of Edenderry as the main shopping centre for over 100 years is to be demolished," Cllr Cribbin said.
"Famous in its day, M.P. OBrien's Merchants was known all over Leinster and was a great employer to many families in the Edenderry area.
The building was sold to Tesco in 1980/81 when the store became known as Quinnsworth before becoming Tesco in the late 1990s.
"Tesco were present until early 2000 when they moved to their present location on the Dublin Road and from that day to this, the building has been vacant and is sadly now a derelict site," Cllr Cribbin added.
"Today [Monday] I was delighted to propose the part 8 Planning Act by Offaly County Council to legally demolish this building and by doing so, open up a massive 33 acres site to be developed."
"This project started life about four years ago when the local library was awarded €1.7 million to upgrade the facility. I saw this as a great opportunity firstly for the council to acquire this derelict site that was a major eyesore in the town and to also spend that money on a new purpose-built library, community hall and arts centre."
Cllr Cribbin added that "having a proposal is one thing, getting it over the line is another" and insisted credit must be given to council officials, Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney and former Director of Finance Declan Conlon who fully supported the proposal.
Cllr Cribbin also paid tribute to his party colleagues, former Laois-Offaly TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy and former Minister Michael Ring for advancing the projects.
Last year, architects engaged with the locality and drew up a masterplan after a funding boost of €100,000 from the government. The plan is a mix of an arts centre and library, housing and retail.
"We then got €800,000 granted to carry out the Granary Court inner relief road which will gain access to the site and open it up for development," Cllr Cribbin stated.
"Lastly this project was also included in Ireland 2040 projects for towns of 10,000 and under and this has a funding of €1 billion."
Edenderry and Offaly County Council can apply for funding from this pot to carry out the development.
A tendering process will now begin to appoint a company to carry out the demolition work at the site. It's expected boots will be on the ground on the site for this work in early 2021.
"This will be followed shortly after with the build of a new library and performance area and including part funding from Offaly County Council, this will come in at between €2.6 and €3 million," Cllr Cribbin explained.
"In my 21 years as a public representative, this, in my opinion, is the best news and the best project to come before me. Yes, the Enfield road, inner relief road, streetscape, canal walkway, playground, pitch and putt club are all brilliant and brought great improvements, but this project will bring new businesses back to the centre of town and revitalise the whole area," he continued.
"Coincidentally, the Tesco site that, when vacated in the 80s took the heart out of the town, is going to bring the heart back into our town by being demolished. I was only too glad to make that proposal and pass that motion today," Noel concluded.