More than 5,000 people are believed to have attended last Friday’s Open Day and official opening of Áras an Chontae, Roscommon County Council’s new civic offices.
Many special events were held throughout the day, including musical performances from the Castlerea Brass Band, the Roscommon Solstice Choir and Scoil Mhuire Roscommon’s award-winning primary school choir.
Exhibitions were on display, including former President Mary McAleese’s collection of state gifts, while there was a variety of children’s events, such as storytelling, an activity room and a woodland segway.
The formal opening ceremony was especially well attended, with hundreds of people gathering to mark the official unveiling of the building. Among them were numerous former councillors and council officials, as well as current politicians and staff.
The building was officially opened by Denis Naughten, the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment.
The proceedings began with an ecumenical blessing by Reverend Alastair Donaldson, of St. Coman’s Church, Roscommon town, and Fr. Eugene McLoughlin, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church in the county town.
Minister Naughten said that it was a “great honour” for him to perform the official opening.
“As a former elected member of Roscommon County Council, I think it is wonderful to see this facility here,” he said.
The civic headquarters houses 13 departments of the local authority, meaning that it is no longer required to lease several buildings for such work.
“We had not just the Courthouse, but I think we had seven other buildings scattered around the town that were being used for council offices,” Minister Naughten said.
“You are not going to have any sort of a team approach unless you have people under the one roof. It is great to see this fabulous public space here.”
He said that the building was a focal point and a fabulous facility to “show off what we are so proud of here in Co. Roscommon”. Visitors and investors could be accommodated in the building, Minister Naughten added.