Review of fire systems at Irish landmarks considered after Notre Dame blaze

Party leaders express sympathy to French after devastating fire at world heritage site in Paris

Footage taken by France TV shows the interior of Notre Dame cathedral after a fire caused the spire to collapse. Video: France TV

 

The Government will consider a review of fire systems at Ireland’s heritage properties in the wake of the devastating Notre Dame blaze in Paris, the Dáil has heard.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said such a review “could be a good idea” and he would consult the Ministers for Housing and Local Government and for Heritage about such a possibility.

He told Labour leader Brendan Howlin that a review had taken place of apartment blocks in the wake of the Grenfell tower fire tragedy in London.

Mr Howlin had asked in the wake of the Notre Dame fire if there are “plans for an audit of our own built heritage such as Dublin Castle, Christchurch or St Patrick’s cathedrals or similar structures across the country to ensure that they are equipped with the latest fire protection systems”.

He said what happened in Paris “should be a wake-up call” for Ireland’s heritage properties as he suggested a fund for both private and public sectors to “ensure we take preventive measures in advance”.

Mr Varadkar said there were no plans at present but it was a “helpful suggestion” and he would take it up with the relevant Ministers. “It could be a good idea.”

Earlier Mr Varadkar said Irish people extend their sympathies to the people of France and to Catholics worldwide following the massive fire damage to Notre Dame Cathedra.

Mr Varadkar said the fire, during Holy Week, and in the lead up to Easter – the religious feast of hope and rebirth – was especially devastating.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also extended sympathies to the French on the fire damage at the “iconic and historic” cathedral.

“Many of us experienced the joy of visiting it and we extend our sympathy to the French people,” he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald also voiced the sympathy of her party at the devastation caused and said she had no doubt the cathedral would be rebuilt. “The world looked on with horror at the inferno at Notre Dame Cathedral,” Ms McDonald said.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said the cathedral, which had in 2013 marked its 850th anniversary, was a “world heritage site that we hope can be restored”.