Between 30 and 40 teenagers are being interviewed by gardaí this week in connection with a fire at Vernon Mount House in Frankfield on Sunday night.
Chief Superintendent of Cork, Mick Finn, said that the investigations into the fire are progressing well, and gardaí now believe that they have identified most people who were at the iconic 18th Century building in the hours preceding the fire.
“We believe that we have identified most people there and the completed interview process may lead to some arrests,” Chief Finn said.
The house, which is considered by many to be a Cork landmark, was badly damaged by the fire, but the Irish Georgian Society have called on the State to protect what remains of the house.
Donough Cahill, IGS executive director, said that from his examination of drone footage of the fire-damaged house, he noted that a number of architectural features had survived and he believes that these should be protected.
He said that the house was ‘Cork’s finest neo-Classical villa’ and that money previously spent to preserve it would be completely wasted if the structure was not saved now.
Mr Cahill advised that the house should first be stabilised and made safe, before an archaeological sift of the site could begin to retrieve archaeological and historical artefacts that may have survived the blaze.
The IGS first raised concerns about the Georgian villa and asked Cork County Council to work to protect it in the 1950s.
The house is a protected structure but is privately owned by Cork based quantity surveyor Olaf Maxwell and a company called Massila Limited.
Mr Maxwell told the Evening Echo that he did not want to see the house demolished.
Although a planning application to turn the house into a hotel had been refused, Mr Maxwell said that he had discussed opening the house for public use with Cork County Council, but financial constraints shelved these plans.
This story first appeared in the Evening Echo newspaper.