Trashed former convent school now a danger to public, says Cllr

February 20th, 2018 11:50 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Cllr Joe Carroll showing the front door of one of the buildings which has had all the top windows smashed.

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A former secondary school in Skibbereen that is now for sale has been vandalised to such a degree that a local councillor has called for it to be condemned.

A FORMER secondary school in Skibbereen that is now for sale has been vandalised to such a degree that a local councillor has called for it to be condemned.

‘Something has to be done,’ said Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) – who raised the issue at a recent West Cork Municipal District meeting – ‘because someone is going to get seriously injured on the site.’

He said: ‘What was once a proud and venerable institution has been trashed to such an extent that there is barely a pane of glass that hasn’t been broken, leaving the school, and the adjacent prefabs, open to the elements.’

The councillor also expressed his concern that every door in the former Mercy Heights school buildings can be readily opened by anyone walking in off the street, and that there isn’t a fixture or fitting that hasn’t been ripped from the wall – or removed – all of which has left the former school looking like a ghetto.

‘What was once an asset has now become a liability,’ Cllr Carroll said of the former school, that is currently on the market with eight acres.

‘Things have only got worse since then,’ said Cllr Carroll.

The Southern Star visited the site, and found broken glass on almost every indoor and outdoor surface. Rooms were trashed, former students’ artwork and framed pictures were strewn across floors, while doors, windows and equipment had been ripped from their surrounds.

During the walk-through, you could hear the sound of running water because vandals have pulled sinks from the walls, causing some of the floors to be flooded.

Aside from the appalling conditions, which will upset many former staff and pupils, Cllr Carroll says there were public safety issues. ‘There is a very real danger that someone could do themselves a serious injury, especially as it is located so close to the new Skibbereen Community School and St Joseph’s National School.’

He urged people who walk through the site to ‘stay away’ and he appealed for greater security to prevent the place being used by youths for late night drinking sessions.

‘I have raised the issue of anti-social behaviour – and possible drug taking – at numerous Council meetings over the last two years, but I now have an even greater concern because I believe this site is a fire hazard.’

Cllr Carroll said a low timber gate at the entrance isn’t sufficient to keep it secure and he urged the owners to put their house in order.

Cllr Carroll said: ‘In my opinion, the site is now dangerous and needs to be securely fenced off to prevent the public from gaining access.’

The issue is also attracting unfavourable comment on social media. One person posted on Facebook: ‘Can someone please remove the dead fox from the corridor of the first floor? It is not right for it to be lying there and will only attract rats and further damage.’

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