Gormley to sanction funds for Youghal walls plan

FUNDING is one way to repair damage to the walls of one of Ireland’s finest medieval towns.

Environment Minister John Gormley said he hopes to sanction the funding soon as he launched Youghal’s town wall conservation and management plan in east Cork last night.

“Last year, the funding from my department to the Heritage Council provided almost e125,000 to Youghal Town Council — e75,000 for non-structural conservation works on the town walls, almost e20,000 towards the restoration of a cannon associated with the town walls, and e30,000 towards a feasibility study for the restoration of the clock tower.

“As you may be aware, the Book of Estimates for 2009 was published earlier and provides for e12.5m for built heritage capital expenditure. I hope to be in a position shortly to announce the funding to be made available in 2009 for the Walled Towns initiative.”

Once sanctioned, the money will pay for significant repairs to the ancient walls, which have dominated the town since the 13th century, but which have been damaged in a series of potentially catastrophic collapses.

Following weeks of heavy rain, a section of the town wall facing Raheen Road collapsed on the evening of January 22, 2008.

Since then, other collapses have occurred and further sections are under threat.

Once funding is sanctioned, the walls’ guardians, Youghal Town Council, will carry out detailed repairs to the national monument which must adhere to strict guidelines and procedures set down by the Department of Environment.

The council has over the last year assembled a team of experts to prepare for the repair project.

“It must be recognised that the works will be undertaken on a long-term basis, as the unique walls are a non-renewable heritage resource that requires careful consideration,” Youghal Tourism’s Aileen Ahern said. “The obvious start point is the current collapse, but, as is identified in the Conservation and Management Plan, many other parts of the walls need work to safeguard it into the future.

“The hope for this year is to fully develop understanding of the reasons for the collapse and then set about starting the repairs works.”

Specialist masons will be hired to conduct the work.


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