£50 mil­lion art haul

Novem­ber 2002

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

THE Beit Foun­da­tion has moved to al­lay fears that its price­less art col­lec­tion could be taken out of west Wick­low once and for all.

Sun­day’s mas­sive art heist – five paint­ings be­lieved to be worth up to £50 mil­lion – from Russ­bor­ough House sparked con­cerns that the col­lec­tion would be moved to Dublin gal­leries.

How­ever, Na­tional Gallery di­rec­tor and foun­da­tion mem­ber, Ray­mond Keav­eny, said that was not an op­tion.

He said al­though there would have to be a ma­jor re­view of se­cu­rity of Russ­bor­ough House, the house and the paint­ings were a pack­age and would not be sep­a­rated.

‘The rob­bery is a shock­ing and ap­palling but the foun­da­tion is a char­i­ta­ble trust which re­volves around the house and the pack­age has to be made avail­able to the pub­lic. There are prob­lems and things are not al­ways as we would wish, ob­vi­ously, but the paint­ings will not be re­moved form the house,’ he said.

Fol­low­ing Sun­day’s dawn raid on the his­toric house, Mr Keav­eney said they would have to go back to the draw­ing board and iden­tify any out­stand­ing weak­nesses in the se­cu­rity sys­tem.

Raiders used a jeep to smash their way into the prop­erty and make off with a haul of art trea­sures. It was the fourth time the stately house had been tar­geted.

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