Councillors Vote for Action on Grand Hotel

Eoghan Dalton Reports

Tramore’s “rat infested” Grand Hotel may yet be revived, after Councillors voted overwhelmingly to do its best to restore the derelict building.
It means the hotel may now become the subject of a compulsory purchase order as elected and non-elected members alike expressed frustration with the Cork based owners.
Following the decision by Councillors, Director of Services Fergus Galvin told them: “The hotel is a priority for the Council, there was a recent meeting between the Chief Executive and the owner of the hotel in which he was left with no uncertain impression of our views on it and that we would be taking action under some of the remedies we have to try and get an early result to either restore the dereliction or to sell it on to someone else”.
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Cllr Blaise Hannigan said that a restoration is estimated to cost in the region of €4 million because the interior has been degraded. “The 18 bedrooms that are in there at the moment are completely gutted, the kitchen is not a kitchen anymore, the sound system and telephone system have been tore out – all the electrics are tore out. The roof is leaking,” he said.
The motion was brought to the meeting in the names of Cllrs Joe Conway & Hannigan (both Ind). It stated:
“That this Council resolves to draw on all its powers – whether they are in compulsory purchase, the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1964, and any other effective legislation – to remediate the dereliction that is the former Grand Hotel, Tramore, in order to address the very reasonable social, community, economic and tourist concerns of the town”
Cllr Conway drew on Greek myth when making his case, comparing the hotel to the Trojan horse that came to the City of Troy. “ It was brought in at the Siege of Troy very subtlety to invade and destroy the city of Troy. For us in Tramore, the Grand Hotel is our Trojan horse. It’s incrementally and subtlety destroying the economic life of the town. It’s destroying the viability of the businesses all around,” he said, adding:
Cllr Joe Conway referred to the hotel as Tramore's "Trojan Horse"
“This once proud town-nucleus known far and wide for its hospitality is now a derelict, stinking, rat-infested hulk. It is a millstone around the neck of a community that is working to improve its viability, its national standing and its economy, in conjunction with much fine work by this Council and its resourceful staff”.
Cllr Hannigan said it was an ‘eyesore’ and pressure should be brought to bear on the owners, whole Cllr Lola O’Sullivan (FG) said the hotel in its current state is holding back Tramore: “Four years ago when the hotel was bought we were all delighted…we assumed something would happen and happen fast. There is a huge need for bednights in Tramore. I think whatever needs to be done to get the owners to either sell it on or improve it or (we) CPO it.”

Cllr Eamon Quinlan (FF) told the chamber that a CPO would “grab the issue by the scruff of the neck”, before saying: “Until the Council lacerates this boil, it will only fester.” There was also reminiscing, with Cllr Breda Brennan (SF) telling members her debutante ball took place in the hotel. “Everybody met there on a Saturday night – it had a great sight overlooking downtown Tramore and I would love, in an ideal world, to see it restored to its former glory,” she said.

The motion passed 17-1, with Cllr Pat Fitzgerald (SF) the sole opposition. He insisted the owners have rights over their private property.

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