Cork City Council is to contact the Office of Public Works (OPW) requesting that it would fund stabilisation works to the derelict Vernon Mount House amid fears the building is at risk of collapsing.
The decision was made at a full council meeting earlier this week following a motion put forward by Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan.
He called on the city council to carry out the necessary stabilisation works to Vernon Mount House “as a matter of great urgency, so as to ensure that the remaining structure is secured for eventual reuse in a manner that is compatible with the historic and architectural significance of the building”.
Speaking at the meeting the Cork City South Central councillor said that the site is, at present, under the ownership of the State.
“The company that owns Vernon Mount House has been struck off the register, is dissolved, and when that occurs and as a result of that the site vests in the State, or in the Minister for Finance on behalf of the State so it’s technically now in the ownership of the State,” he said.
He said that last December the property was placed on the derelict sites register.
“The ultimate goal should be for this historic monument to be preserved for future generations,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
“I know there’s a certain amount of fences gone around it but that’s not enough at all.
“If action isn’t taken pretty soon then there’ll be nothing left to preserve,” he added.
Mr O’Callaghan said at the Cork City South Central committee meeting, Green Party councillor Dan Boyle had suggested writing to the OPW asking for the necessary funding to carry out the works, which in 2017 were estimated at just over €43,000.
The 18th-century neoclassical structure at Frankfield in Douglas was burned down in 2016, three years after Cork County Council carried out works to repair the roof at a cost of €170,000.
The property has been under Cork City Council’s jurisdiction since the boundary extension in 2019.
Speaking at the meeting on Monday night, Mr Boyle said since the fire there has been an attitude that the structure “should be allowed die a natural death” such was the extent of the damage.
“But the façade remains and it’s a significant façade not only for its architectural importance but it has a significance in terms of the history,” he continued.
“It still can be given a grace into the future if we cherish it the sufficient way.”
Mr Boyle said he would like to see the OPW “dedicated towards securing the building and giving value to the façade at least into the immediate future”.
Fine Gael councillor Deirdre Forde suggested that Mr O’Callaghan’s motion would be amended to state that the council should call on the OPW to provide the necessary funding, which was unanimously agreed.