Mitchelstown Heritage Society welcomes Council move on convent building
"Obviously from Mitchelstown Heritage Societies point of view, we are delighted that we're finally seeing official confirmation and recognition of the problematic issue, that is the continued vandalism and neglect going on at the old Presentation Convent." So said Andrew Dineen, chairman of Mitchelstown Heritage Society when he spoke to The Avondhu during the week.
While the society hadn't received any official confirmation of the action being taken, Mr Dineen said the commitment by the council to make the building safe however, was 'in line with the steps the Heritage Society suggested to Cork County Council in previous correspondence'.
"Under the Heritage Act and the Derelict Sites Act, the local authorities can legally compel the building owner to undertake work to restore a protected structure, under the council's guidance," he explained.
"If an owner refuses or cannot afford the work, they can come to an agreement with the council to ensure the work is carried out. In the case of a hostile or uncooperative owner the local authority may take over the site on a temporary or permanent basis, do the work and bill the owner for the work done."
The heritage society chairman went on to say the action othe council intends to take (to impose sanction under the Act), would become part of a legal process, leading to a court order for the works to be carried out.
"The Society would not wish to say or do anything which could impede this, as we've fought for so long, to get to this stage," he stressed.
He said it is gratifying to see that the efforts of the heritage society committee, council officials, the local representatives which the society contacted and other concerned members of the public, have finally lead to action by the council.
"It is an important first step, and while we're delighted to see progress, we hope it will not be a long drawn out process as the building keeps deteriorating. The heritage society will continue to monitor the situation and be of any assistance to the council which we can be. As we have said before, the convent is not gone beyond the point of no return. It remains the largest and most dominant protected structure in Mitchelstown. It is therefore important that its future is protected so that when more economically stable times return, a suitable use can be found for a building which played such a key role in the lives of the ordinary men and women of the town."
Thursday 25th July 7:47pm