LAOIS County Council has plans to demolish the old Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall as part redeveloping the adjoining Hepburn Court housing estate on the Ballyfin Road.
It took less than two days to build the hall over a weekend in 1995. The work was done by hundreds of church followers, who came from all over Ireland to help.
However, in 2013, the Jehovah Witness followers had to abandon the property after they came under sustained physical attack after enduring years of constant abuse.
A number of arson attacks were carried out on the premises and in a letter seeking support from the local authority before they fled the building, members of the religious community told of their fears of the “premises being burnt to the ground”.
All but one of the 12 houses in the adjoining Hepburn Court estate had almost been razed to the ground by fire over the past ten years or so.
The council bought the Kingdom Hall and the old squash club in 2017. It began buying up the privately-owned houses in Hepburn Court four years ago and is now preparing plans to develop that area of the town.
At the county council’s January meeting, executive officer John Mulholland said that as part of the redevelopment programme, four houses in the estate – numbers 9, 10, 11 and 12 – will be demolished along with the Kingdom Hall and old squash club premises. He also hoped that the structures on houses numbered 1 to 6, which are in poor condition, could be saved.