I remember hearing about this last year in one of the trade magazines and going straight past the headline…. mainly because I thought to myself
No County Council would be stupid enough to do so….
I was extremely wrong. A major catastrophe has developed and thanks to an extremely well written piece by Rosita Boland on the Lissadell situation it has hit the headlines Ireland and in this weekends Irish Times. Well worth reading.
Let me give you the gist of the story…..
Sligo County Council could have bought this house in 2003 but chose not to. Instead the Gore family bought it for €3.75 million according to their statement ‘as a private property‘ [then spent €800,000 on contents]. The house at the time was almost derelict. This obviously doesn’t include maintenance and a lot of staff and to date €12 million has been invested in the estate. Lissadell house has also not received any public funding.
Second…. I’ve been to Sligo. It is very beautiful… but there isn’t a lot by way of tourist attractions and in 2008 Lissadell attracted 44,000 visitors.
Here’s where it gets a little odd….
On 1st December 2008 Sligo County Council, without any notice to us, passed a resolution that the Council “amend the current County Development Plan to include in it a provision for the preservation of the public rights of way along routes through the Lissadell Estate” in accordance with section 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. These routes include the path running right in front of the doors of the House itself.
Their statement continues…..
For a public right of way to exist, it must be expressly dedicated by the owner of the land. That is the law. There is no evidence that any such dedication was ever made over any part of the Lissadell Estate, either when it was a 4,000 acre estate, or when it was reduced to the current 400 acres in the 1960s. Indeed it would defy common sense to dedicate as a public road an internal path right beside the front door of your house.
Whats funny now is that on Tuesday the family must defend themselves in court against Sligo County Council. Can you imagine if this were to happen to you…..? This is ridiculous. And Sligo County Council should be ashamed of themselves. According to Rosita Bolands article it was difficult to find anyone to speak on the record or in support of the councils actions. This includes Joe Leonard who was the brains behind this issue…..
My suggestion….. send Joe an email or give a call and let him know how you feel.
Councillor Joe Leonard
Party: Fine Gael
Address: Cloonaghbawn Ballinfull Co Sligo
Phone: 071 9163443
In closing Constance Cassidy and her husband Eamon Walsh note
OUR VISION was to transform the estate into a flagship for tourism in Sligo and the North West, and to provide a secure environment for our seven children……
………..We have avoided the easy options to exploit and develop Lissadell commercially, but there is only so much one family can do. If we do not enjoy the support of the councillors who represent the people of Sligo then our efforts are at naught. Why would anyone continue?
Edward Walsh, Constance Cassidy and family.
UPDATE: As usual, I have emailed both Joe Leonard and Lisadell House to let them know of this piece. As yet Joe Leonard has not responded
Oh by the way this is the same Joe Leonard with *the famous poster 😉
see post: Lissadell House gets interesting
UPDATE: The Sodshow speaks with Keith McNair