Council must be proactive in bid to save historic structures

Leitrim County Council is continuing to pursue the owners of two listed structures to carry out remedial works to secure the future of historic structures in Dromahair and Manorhamilton.

Leitrim County Council is continuing to pursue the owners of two listed structures to carry out remedial works to secure the future of historic structures in Dromahair and Manorhamilton.

Putting forward a motion on the condition of the Abbey Manor Hotel, Dromahair and the former Courthouse in Manorhamilton at Monday’s Council meeting, Cllr Frank Dolan, said that it was vital that all avenues be pursued in order to preserve these structures.

The Fine Gael councillor said he had recently entered the former Abbey Manor Hotel in Dromahair and had been appalled by the conditions inside the premises. The building has fallen victim to vandals and thieves since it’s closure a few years ago and it has also suffered extensive water damage due to the removal of lead from the roof.

Cllr Dolan told the Local Authority, “it’s a health and safety issue and the hotel (in Dromahair) is attracting anti-social behaviour. At this rate I think that there will be a fire there some morning and that will be the end of this building.”

He also noted that the former Manorhamilton Court House was also in a very poor state and he called on the Council to pursue the Courts Service in relation to this.

Cllr Mary Bohan supported his call noting this was not the first time this matter had been highlighted.

“I raised the issue of the Abbey Manor Hotel earlier this year and I was told the Council were working to identify the owners of this building. I understand that registered letters were sent out but these were returned to the Council. There is still no answer on this building and the ownership,” she said.

“The people behind this got the tax incentive (for this property) and they don’t give a tuppenny damn about it now.”

Senior Executive Officer with Leitrim County Council, Vincent Dwyer said that the process of determining the owner of the Abbey Manor Hotel had proven to be very complex but he noted one owner had now come forward.

“We are hopeful that he (the co-owner) will identify the remaining owner and we can progress this matter and discuss what course of action can be taken to preserve this listed structure,” he said.

Cllr Bohan welcomed the news but said that the entire process had taken too long and she questioned who would be responsible if parts of the structure fell, or if anyone was injured trespassing on the property.

Mr Dwyer said that the Council would be happy to provide an update on the situation at the next meeting.

Leitrim Council contacted the Courts Service in May requesting a timescale for renovation works to Manorhamilton Courthouse. No response has been received and the council are continuing to pursue this matter.