The bid to secure substantial new funding for Ardee Castle from Failte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, has failed.
At Monday’s meeting of Louth County Council in Dundalk, the assembled county councillors heard from that the funding bid had been unsuccessful – leaving Ardee Castle with no funding to draw from going forward.
The public consultation on the Castle is currently ongoing. Locals can view the council’s proposed renovations and make submissions based on it until April 21st. However, the news that Failte Ireland will not be financially supporting the work means the likeliehood is that those plans will remain exactly that for the forseeable future – merely plans.
The local authority applied for Failte Ireland funding for Ardee Castle last summer and officials at Louth County Council were believed to be confident in a positive outcome for Ardee Castle. Had a significant portion of the funding been obtained, work could have begun on the building later this year pending a successful planning permission application.
In 2015, Louth County Council committed €1.2 million to Ardee Castle work but that money was mostly based on development levy income and is not currently in the council’s kitty. With no funding allocated by Failte Ireland the prospect of work on Ardee Castle would remain on hold.
The council’s plans to renovate the Castle involve a new main entrance relocation to the adjoining building on Castle Street (Judge’s Chambers) to faciliate universal access, installing an external lift to the rear, a modern extension and refurbishment and ensuring universal access in the building.
In January, local Independent councillors Jim Tenanty and Kevin Callan met with Minister for Tourism Shane Ross, but it appears having the Minister’s ear in relation to this has failed to have the required effect on obtaining much needed cash for the project.
Ardee Municipal District cathaoirleach Dolores Minogue expressed her disappointment at this morning’s news at the meeting.