Urban decay - It’s time for renewal plan

It is nearly always a tragedy when a beautiful building from another age is lost through accident or neglect.

Yesterday’s fire which razed the former Good Shepherd Convent in Sunday’s Well in Cork is certainly a cultural loss especially as it was, in recent years, associated with one of the darker chapters in our history. That gardaí believe the fire was started on purpose makes that loss all the greater.

The fire, and what might become of the ruin and the site it stands on, points to a growing problem right across our country.

Derelict sites can be seen on nearly every street in nearly every town or city. They stand as reminders of the foolish ambitions of recent years. That, however, does not remove the threat they pose to the life of our towns and cities. Urban regeneration rather than a flight to the suburbs is badly needed and any leverage that might be brought to bear on this issue by the inevitable property tax must be worth real consideration.

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