The destruction, reportedly by arson, of a historic building in Cork has led to fears of a former hotel being targeted by vandals.
A county councillor has highlighted local concerns about the safety of the Sunset Ridge Hotel building near Blarney.
Ger Keohane, expressing local fears about likely damage to the building, urged County Hall to take a tougher line on vacant and derelict properties.
Arson has been blamed for extensive damage at the historic house Vernon Mount, near Douglas. He indicated that it may only be a question of time before the former Blarney hotel suffered a similar fate.
It closed five years ago and, while efforts were made to secure the property, vandals have gained entry. On numerous recent occasions, fires have been lit in the building.
Mr Keohane raised the issue with county council officials and urged them to put more pressure on the building’s owner to ensure people cannot gain access to the building.
“There are boards sealing off the windows at the front, but the building has been broken into at the back and now it’s wide open for vandals,” the councillor said.
He visited the site after getting calls from a number of locals who are concerned about the potential risk of an arson attack and reported anti-social behaviour.
“The building appears to be wrecked and is now a blackspot for squatters, drug-users and anti-social behaviour,” he said. “The gardaí from Watercourse Road Garda Station have been called to this site on many occasions and so has the fire brigade.”
He said that, after being contacted by locals and visiting the site himself, he asked council officials to enforce a derelict sites order which can lead to large fines for owners who leave properties deteriorate to such an extent.
“Residents want the whole perimeter of the site fenced off so no access can be gained and a security firm to monitor the premises on a nightly basis when most of the anti-social behaviour occurs,” said Mr Keohane.
The councillor, who lives in Glanmire, recalled when the former John Barleycorn Hotel was broken into and set alight some years ago.
“We don’t want another situation like that or the more recent incident at Vernon Mount,” he said.
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