THE FORMER garda station in Doon is to be sold at public auction in two weeks time, guiding at between €15,000 and €20,000.
Doon Historical Society say the move has left “a very bad taste in the mouth” because they applied to take it over twice and the first they heard of the sale was when they were contacted by the Limerick Leader.
Thousands of signatures were collected to try and save the station but it was still closed by the Government. Now Doon Historical Society say this is a further kick in the teeth as they had applied to take over the building for the community.
Gerry Connors, secretary of the society, knows the property well.
Mr Connors policed the parish of Doon for 32 years from 1967 to 1999. When he came in the Sixties the former RIC barracks was being lived in as well as the home of law and order in the East Limerick village.
“It is very disappointing that it is being sold and that the first we heard of it was from you [the Limerick Leader],” said Mr Connors, who says it was built in the 1800s.
“When I came to Doon in 1967 Sergeant Philip Coyle and his family lived in it. For years it was manned by one and five – one sergeant and five gardai. When I came the strength of it was one sergeant and three gardai. Then in 1970 it was sub stationed - reduced to a one man station,” said Mr Connors.
As time moved on the building fell into disrepair as it wasn’t being lived in full-time anymore.
“It was closed in the mid-eighties and then I was moved into a prefab beside it,” said Mr Connors, who retired after 32 years in 2009.
Other gardai were appointed in the mean time before the station was officially closed in 2012.
The decision was strongly criticised by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which said it would further damage the ability of gardaí to police the country.
“We [Doon Historical Society] applied to the OPW to take it over before it was ever closed because the building is derelict. That we would buy it at a nominal price. We heard no word back,” said Mr Connors.
Then they heard Minister of State, Brian Hayes talking about the disposal of certain former garda stations.
“I have also received many requests from various community groups across the country, expressing an interest in some of the former stations,” said Minister Hayes.
Doon Historical Society’s hopes were lifted when Tourmakeady and Mulranny garda stations were handed over to the local communities.
“We wrote a detailed submission last year to the OPW but again heard nothing back. Now we find through the media that it is to be sold and we weren’t even notified. It does leave a bad taste in the mouth and is very disappointing
“It is of historical significance to the village, we thought there would be no problem to get it because it is derelict,” said Mr Connors.
The local IRA raided the building when it was a RIC barracks in 1920.
“They fired shots against it and put up a bomb against the side of it which blew outwards. They weren’t able to take it over so they retreated,” said Mr Connors, who is a keen historian.
If they were given the building they planned on applying for funding and opening a museum.
They won’t be able to bid for it, which Doon Historical Society had listed as a historic building with Limerick County Council, due to the lack of funding.
“Unfortunately we won’t be bidding for it, we don’t have that kind of money. First they closed it and now they are selling it off,” said Mr Connors.
Prior to speaking to Mr Connors, the Leader contacted the auctioneer - Noel Corcoran. On the instructions of the Office of Public Works the former garda stations in Dundrum and Ballinure in Tipperary and Doon are up for auction in the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Thurles on Thursday, June 5 at 3pm.
For the property in Doon, Mr Corcoran is guiding between €15,00 and €20,000.
“We are being very realistic with our reserve. We would like to get it sold, it probably will sell on the day,” said Mr Corcoran.
He describes it as a “fine, big two-storey building” with an excellent location on the Limerick side of the village.
“It is in need of total refurbishment. The portakabin is being sold as part of it. It would be ideal for a business.
“It stands on the Main Street, it is a very good site,” said Mr Corcoran, who is looking forward to a big crowd on June 5.
For more information on the auction please contact Mr Corcoran’s office in Tipperary Town on 062 52233.