Greenvale Hotel will not be demolished 'for at least four years'
THE owner of the Greenvale Hotel has no plans to demolish the venue “for at least four years”.
Investigations are ongoing after Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and Connor Currie (16) died as they queued for a disco at the hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone on St Patrick's night.
Concerns were raised this week after it emerged that owner Michael McElhatton had lodged an application with Mid Ulster District Council to demolish the existing building and replace it with five semi-detached houses and garages.
Solicitors for the Barnard family said they may take legal action to prevent changes to the building until all investigations are complete.
A spokeswoman for Mr McElhatton last night said there are no immediate plans to demolish the hotel.
"There are weddings booked at Greenvale up to 2022 and assurances have been provided to families that all these bookings will be honoured," she told the BBC.
"There are no plans to make any change to the hotel or its operations for at least the next four years."
Morgan Barnard's father James Bradley had earlier told The Irish News about his concerns.
“While I would welcome the Greenvale being demolished I would have concerns about when the demolition takes place because this venue is critical to the ongoing investigation and could have an evidential value at a later date,” he said.
His solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said he had been instructed to “write to the relevant authorities seeking assurances that no demolition will take place until after the relevant investigations have been completed".
“If these assurances are not forthcoming we will not hesitate to take legal action to ensure the retention of best evidence and the retention of these buildings,” he said.
It is understood that staff at the hotel were not told about the development plans in advance of the application.
Earlier this week The Irish News revealed how police who initially attended the scene on St Patrick's night did not intervene for 16 minutes. The Police Ombudsman is investigating the initial response.
It has also emerged that a parent raised concerns with police about a disco at the Greenvale Hotel on the day the tragedy took place.
It has also been claimed that complaints about the nightspot were previously made to police and the local council dating back as far as 2013.
Several investigations are active into the events surrounding the deaths of the three teenagers.