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Mayor MacManus - Government Decision On Lissadell Regretful

12 August, 2003

The Chairperson of the Lissadell Action Group, Mayor Sean MacManus has expressed extreme disappointment at the failure of the Government to purchase Lissadell House and Estate. Speaking to The Sligo Champion Alderman MacManus said:

"I am deeply disappointed that this historic property, so closely associated with a heroine of 1916, Constance Markievicz, is to remain in private ownership. The failure of the government to purchase Lissadell is truly regretful and is a clear snub to the wishes of the Irish people. The reality is that this property was offered for sale to the Government at Easter, so they had ample time to assess the estate and move to purchase.

"Instead we have witnessed a process of prevarication over the last four months, which must lead to questions as to the Government‚s interest in this unique historical and cultural property. When they introduced the astronomical figure of €30 million as possible total expenditure it became clear that they had no real interest in buying Lissadell. We in the Lissadell Action Group have always expressed the view that the prime requirement was to purchase the estate and that improvements, if required, could be carried out over a period of years. It is an undisputed fact that the asking price for the house, 400-acre estate and contents was approx. €4.5 million. This is the real figure, not €30 million.

"Sligo County Council have clearly indicated their willingness to become involved, as have other statutory bodies, grants could have been obtained towards running and remedial costs if needed. Despite these facts, the government refused to act and allowed this opportunity to put in place a major tourist attraction for Sligo to slip by. If this property were located in the eastern region there would have been a different government reaction - Farmleigh House has to date cost the taxpayer €100 million.

"The government's failure to secure Lissadell is indicative of their ongoing failure to deliver to this region. The anger generated by this decision will not be placated by pious platitudes and mutterings about financial constraints. ENDS

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