Yet another section of Cork city centre has just been cordoned off due to crumbling masonry.
A passerby had a lucky escape when a window ledge on the former Moderne building came loose on Thursday.
In Christmas week 1999, Aoife Bell from Kerry Pike lost her life and one of her friends received critical injuries when a building in Washington St partially collapsed. In 2009, Castle St had to be closed after a building collapsed without warning and most recently another premises on North Main St was declared unsafe.
There have been a lot of happy-clappy news reports lately about various hotels, skyscrapers, and docklands projects being built or planned in Cork city — but the historic core is falling apart.
Unfortunately, the ‘Living City Scheme’ has become one of the least successful property tax breaks in the State’s history. It allows part of the cost of renovating buildings built before 1915 to be written off against tax.
One Dublin estate agent said the scheme was a “dead duck” because it took so long to claim back the tax relief: “When you do the sums it’s pathetic. It’s not worth bothering with.”
Parts of Cork city centre have become so dilapidated in recent years that tourists could be forgiven for thinking that Cromwell had only recently passed through.
Civic authorities, business leaders, estate agents and property developers need to get their act together fast. Because if they don’t then the people of Cork will have to change their anthem from ‘Beautiful City’ to ‘Dirty Old Town’.
- Michael O Flynn