SHANNON Area Councillors criticised Avoca Handweavers this week, for failing to make repairs after their building was damaged by fire in October 2007.
At the meeting, director of services, Bernadette Kinsella said that it is not registered as a derelict site, while no new application has been made there.
Councillor Patricia McCarthy said it was “an eyesore” and wasn’t doing anything for local tourism. “It’s a serious problem, it’s half burnt out and there’s hoarding around it,” she added.
Councillor Gerry Flynn said it was “absolutely crazy” that the current situation is allowed to continue. He said that the council is able to take steps against ordinary people, but seemed unable to take action regarding Avoca. “Here we have a prime area that’s known globally and it’s sitting derelict,” he commented.
Leaving the site untouched does nothing for tourism, Councillor PJ Ryan claimed, while Councillor John Crowe said Avoca should have carried out repairs. “We’re talking about a big company and it’s an absolute disgrace,” he said.
The Clare Champion subsequently contacted Avoca Weavers and in a statement, the company claimed it was trying to dispose of the premises.
“The awful fire at our Bunratty premises wiped out what was for us a successful business, with the sad loss of 30 jobs. Following the fire, we had all the charred debris cleaned out of the burnt building and we surrounded the entire building with metal hoarding for safety reasons.
“We then fully evaluated the possibility of reinstating an Avoca operation in Bunratty but ultimately felt that it was too small for what we consider to be our optimum needs (for example, our Naas road outlet, which we built in 2005, is 40,000 square feet on four acres, Bunratty was a 7,000 sq ft building on one acre). To add to our dilemna the recession then took a grip and our focus has been on successfully managing our operational businesses. The premises has been for sale through Rooney Auctioneers for over 18 months.”
It didn’t outline any plans to make improvements prior to selling the premises. “Late last year we were written to and informed that some people felt the charred building is unsightly and asked would we do something about that. We immediately arranged to erect a painted solid wooden fence across the entire width of the property. We regret that the premises lies forlorn but believe that it is a great site in the heart of Bunratty and that as the economy recovers and credit begins to flow again that someone will jump at its potential. We have made it clear that we would be open to reasonable offers, including possibly a phased payment.”