Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork

The heritage Council of Ireland under the Significant Places of Worship Grant Scheme has made an allottment of some Euro 70,000 to the Cobh Cathedral Restoration Fund which had applied for a grant of Euro 120,000. The grant ie earmarked for repairs to the south arcade and clerestory following the collapse of masonery on Christmas eve 2007. The consultants who have been retained are Chris Southgate and Associates.

It will be recalled that the collapse of the masonery in the south arcade was caused by water ingress following the replacement of the roof during the last “restoration” campaign for which the Heritage Council of Ireland also made a grant of £250,000 but do not appear to have made any check to ensure that such public funds were spent in the best interest of the building or, indeed, to the best advantage of the general public. In the present public financial crisis, can we expect that the public interest will be properly served by ensuring that the works which have to be carried out will indeed not only be to best conservation standard but, perhaps more to the point, of a level commensurate with excellence of the fabric and workmanship of Cobh Cathedral?

It is also heartening to see that public funds can be made available by a public body to a private entity such as Cobh Cathedral Restoration Steering Committee which thought nothing of squandering very considerable sums of money on professional fees in its stubborn attempt to bulldoze through a scheme of wreckage on the building they are supposed to be restoring – and while that private entity still has considerable funds available on deposit as can be seen from its returns to the Companies Registration Office- and whose prospects of raising further funds from the general public are rather gloomy in view of the questions that can be raised about its past record. Did someone say that we had a recession? Or, is the government also about to institute an architectural/heritage/cultural equivalant of NAMA?

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