In July 1998, the Government approved a programme for the evacuation and sale of six Army barracks considered no longer necessary for military requirements. Magee Barracks was one of the barracks identified for closure and disposal. On 1 July 2003 the Government decided the former Magee Barracks in Kildare town would be among the State lands released to Kildare County Council for inclusion in the Sustaining Progress affordable housing initiative. On foot of this Government decision, Kildare County Council prepared a local area plan for the site which encompassed a range of uses, including community use. Following discussions between the Department, Kildare County Council and the then Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and in accordance with the terms of the housing initiative, it was agreed that the entire site would be transferred to Kildare County Council. A final contract for transfer was issued to Kildare County Council in January 2009. Subsequently, however, the council advised the Department that it no longer wished to take possession of the property.
Officials from my Department recently met with the chief executive officer and an official from Kildare County Council. The discussions centred on a number of issues, including the Department’s future plans for Magee Barracks. It is proposed to dispose of the remaining circa 54 acres of the barracks by public auction later this year.
The local development plan for Kildare town for 2012 to 2018 has made provision for substantial community developments on the barracks site. Consequently, any buyer will be obliged to comply with these provisions, thereby ensuring that the local community will benefit directly from the sale.
The Department sought to transfer the entire site but Kildare County Council decided not to proceed with the proposal, which is fine. As a result of a local area plan, however, there will be a significant community value element to any future development at the site and it will be a matter for Kildare County Council to ensure this occurs.