Independent TD Mattie McGrath has condemned in the strongest terms the reckless destruction which was twice visited on the Mountain Lodge/Glengarra Youth Hostel this week.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after the community of Burncourt woke to find serious levels of destruction had been caused to the structure including the breaking of all the double lancet windows in the Lodge and the windows in the Gothic Revival style which are considered unique and are possibly irreplaceable.
“This is a despicable and cowardly attack on a much loved local amenity. I find it equally galling that significant amounts of lead was stripped from the roof of the structure and which has no doubt been sold on for a tidy profit. I have been trying for nearly two years now to force the Minister for Justice to enact my Scrap and Precious Metal Bill, which has been specifically designed to subject thieves who attempt to sell on this type of lead and precious metal to very punitive measures. The fact remains however that despite wide cross party support this Minister has chosen to sit on the Bill and allow this kind of activity to flourish. Buildings like the Mountain Lodge continue to draw the attention of thieves because they know that they can remove and sell the lead and other metal material from the structure without much fear of reprisals. This has to end.
“I deeply commend the sterling work of the Burncourt Community Council which has been working on a process aimed at subleasing the hostel as well as looking at sources of funding with the immediate objective of rescuing the building and conserving it as a local heritage treasure. The hard work of the community must not continue to be undermined by the indifference of Minister Shatter who has proposals before his desk which could make this kind of activity much less attractive once the right penalties are in place,” concluded Deputy McGrath.