Council halts demolition of Georgian building

 

GALWAY County Council has halted all development work on the site of a historic Georgian house in Loughrea following public protests.

Dalystown House was the home of the Daly family of Dunsandle up to the mid 19th century.

According to the council any work on the house, which has been vacant since the 1950s, would have required planning permission, though much of its interior has already been removed.

The acting county secretary Mr Eddie Power, has confirmed that the building was listed in the 1990 County Development Plan for preservation.

"This building is listed as Category 2, in other words it's the council's intention to preserve it", Mr Power said. "Planning permission should be sought for any works to be carried out on the building.

"Our planning inspectors have visited the site. The developer was spoken to and told to cease all work. Where an unauthorised development has taken place, a number of avenues are open to the council. We are now considering what course we will be taking."

The owner of Dalystown House, Mr Bob Hughes, said last week that he had been in dispute with the council for four years about whether there was a preservation order on the house.

He had been led to believe there was no order relating to the property. He also disputed the age claimed for the house. He had given written notice to the authority that he was going to allow another party demolish it and remove the bricks and stone.

"I agreed to this on the basis that the building was in a dangerous condition and I could not get insurance for it, but it emerged this week that there was in fact a preservation order after all."

Local people, including councillor Mr Michael Regan (FF) and Mr Norman Morgan (Ind) of Loughrea Town Commissioners and an authority on local heritage, have condemned "the destruction of a hugely important Georgian mansion".

Mr Morgan said that to him it was the final destruction, following the sad lead given by the demolition of Lady Gregory's house, and other houses in Galway such as those at Dunsandle and Masonbrook.

The lands associated with the estate were previously taken over by the Land Commission.