Sir, - Whilst in the west of Ireland a few weeks ago, I visited Birr Castle, on a historic day, as it turn out. The famous Birr Telescope was being removed for restoration and this was the first stage of the process. While I watched with concern at the somewhat "disorganised" latter" stages of the lift of the telescope onto its wheeled transport, I must say I was alarmed when I looked a bit closer. The telescope's main body consists of a large wooden barrel type "tube", at the bottom end of which was the original mirror. This mirror is encased in the existing large "box" attached to the end of the telescope "tube" body.

When I looked at the "box" it seems "someone" had simply sawn through the wooden telescope body at a point just above the original securing bolts in order to release the body from the base "box". This then had the result of leaving about five feet of the original telescope body still attached to the "box".

The questions I would like to ask the relevant people are:

(1) Should all the original securing bolts not have been removed from the structure, one by one, thereby maintaining the total telescope body length for restoration?

(2) How is the body going to be re affixed, given the incisions made at the point described?

(3) Was the scientist in charge aware of this removal technique and will it affect the optics, physics and telescope rigidity in its proposed renovated state?

Given the fact that the Government has, I believe, donated £1 million to the project, I look forward to a simple and hopefully unembarrassed reply in due course. - Yours, etc.,

Park Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4.