CEMETERY TOWER FEARS

The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE - By SORCHA CROW­LEY

OPW Min­is­ter Kevin ‘Boxer’ Mo­ran is be­ing called on to hon­our his word given in Au­gust 2017 to con­serve Court Abbey Cemetery in Lav­agh, South Sligo.

In­de­pen­dent Coun­cil­lor Mar­garet Gorm­ley told the Oc­to­ber meet­ing of Sligo County Coun­cil that Min­is­ter Mo­ran made the com­mit­ment to have the dan­ger­ously un­sta­ble church ruin con­served in front of the lo­cal com­mit­tee, county coun­cil­lors and Sligo/Leitrim Deputies Ea­mon Scan­lon and Tony McLough­lin dur­ing his visit on 21st Au­gust last year.

“He did in­di­cate that day that it was dan­ger­ous and that some­thing needed to be done. I’m ask­ing hi to hon­our his com­mit­ment and make this fund­ing avail­able in or­der that con­ser­va­tion works be car­ried out to make it safe. If some­thing hap­pens, who is re­spon­si­ble?” she said.

Fianna Fáil Coun­cil­lor Keith Henry said he had also been writ­ing to the OPW and Her­itage Min­is­ter Josepha Madi­gan and each one was “pass­ing the

“If that tower comes down it’s go­ing to smash all the head­stones”

re­spon­si­bil­ity to the other”.

Fine Gael Coun­cil­lor Dara Mul­vey said the old struc­ture of the Court Abbey was “ready to col­lapse.” He told the meet­ing he was also in touch with Min­is­ter Madi­gan and had in­vited her down to see the Cemetery for her­self.

The old Abbey ruin and tower are in dan­ger of top­pling onto the cemetery which is still be­ing used to this day.

Di­rec­tor of Services Tom Kil­feather told mem­bers that they had noth­ing in writ­ing from Min­is­ter Mo­ran giv­ing a com­mit­ment to fund­ing the con­ser­va­tion works.

Cllr Gorm­ley said she didn’t ac­cept that Min­is­ter Mo­ran couldn’t make fund­ing avail­able.

“He ad­mit­ted him­self that it was dan­ger­ous on the 21st of Au­gust 2017 and I’m ask­ing Sligo County Coun­cil to write to him and ask him to keep his word, re­quest­ing that he make the fund avail­able that he promised on that date,” she told mem­bers.

The Di­rec­tor of Services said he would do that.

Sligo County Coun­cil owns Court Abbey Cemetery. So far the OPW has not taken it over.

Chair­man of Achonry Mul­linabreena Com­mu­nity En­hance­ment Group Michael Toolan said the base of the tower was start­ing to erode away.

“There’s arte­facts in­side Court Abbey Cemetery but there’s no roof on it. There’s draw­ings on the walls that go back years.

“We had a meet­ing with Boxer Mo­ran but we haven’t had any­thing since. The most thing we’re afraid of, if that tower comes down, it’s go­ing to smash all the head­stones in the grave­yard. Who’s go­ing to fix it?

“We want to se­cure it. A num­ber of rocks have come down and missed head­stones, lucky enough no one was hurt.”

Pics:

Court Abbey Cemetery has a high tower (above) in dan­ger of col­lapse onto grave­stones be­low. IN­SET: Michael Toolan points to the crum­bling walls of the Abbey. Sorcha Crow­ley

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