Mount Congreve estate, on the outskirts of Waterford city, has been officially handed over to Waterford Council.
The transfer means the council will get an annual grant of €250,000 from the OPW for the next seven years.
Trustees will now be nominated by the Council to manage the investment, which will be used to upgrade visitor services and maintain the gardens
Confirming the move to councillors last night, Services Director with Waterford Council, Ivan Grimes said he was happy to announce the move after several years of discussion between the Mount Congreve Trust, the Office of Public Works and the Council:
“We will be responsible for nominating interim trustees and at a recent meeting we agreed they will be the Mayor, the outgoing Mayor and the Chief Executive.”
Confirming the transfer had taken place Minister of State John Halligan said it would ensure vital capital investment in the landmark gardens to allow them to develop and flourish to their full potential:
“This badly needed capital investment will be used to upgrade the visitor services at Mount Congreve in order to make it attractive to national and international visitors. This will include the provision of car parking and welfare facilities for tourists, as well as completing urgent health and safety works to the gardens themselves”.
Kevin “Boxer” Moran, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief said:
“Mount Congreve is internationally famous for its extensive gardens and collection of shrubs, trees and exotic plants. It is widely recognised as being the home of one of “The great gardens of the World”. I am delighted that the Estate will now transfer to the State, through Waterford City and County Council, and that it will be opened up as a public visitor attraction. This development will have a clear positive benefit to the local community in the long term through the economic spin-off and opportunities from increased tourism revenues generally in the area”.