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Councillors fear arson attacks on buildings

July 11th, 2017 10:04 PM

By Southern Star Team

The fire that destroyed the former Our Lady's Hospital, off Cork's Lee Road, on Tuesday night, July 4th. (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)

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BY JACKIE KEOGH

PUBLIC representatives said they fear that idle Council buildings could be subjected to arson attacks similar to the fire at Our Lady’s in Cork on Tuesday night.

Speaking at a meeting of the Municipal District of West Cork in Skibbereen on Wednesday, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said he had no wish to be sensationalist when he called on Council officials to carry out an audit of the Council’s property.

The councillor cited the fire at Beechgrove House in Clonakilty on June 16th as a further example of suspected vandalism after gardaí in Clonakilty confirmed that the fire at Beechgrove House is being investigated as ‘a criminal act.’

He expressed concern that some of the Council’s other buildings could be subject to ‘copycat’ attacks and asked that vacant buildings be assessed as potential security and safety risks.

Cllr O’Sullivan said it had been suggested that ‘kids’ were gaining access to idle buildings and using them as places to hang out, smoke and drink.

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) complained: ‘Our historical sites are being left go to ruin.’ He said that a building that was formerly owned by the Sisters of Mercy but had been handed over to Clúid in 2013, has been idle ever since. 

Cllr Collins said the site is the scene of anti-social behaviour every weekend and that a local farmer is worried that his adjoining hay fields will be set alight.

In Skibbereen, Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said people are saddened to see that the old convent site in North Street has fallen into decay. 

He said windows on the building have been smashed and the roof has fallen in due to neglect. 

And he also expressed the concern that it could be ‘set ablaze any night.’

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