Gardaí probing theft of art from stately home's collection
More than €500,000 worth of historical artefacts have been stolen from a stately home's collection.
Some 39 items, including 26 paintings, were found to have been taken from the Killarney House collection.
Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller & Auditor General, revealed gardaí were investigating the disappearance of the artefacts.
A wider review found that 173 items on loan from the State art collection to locations around the country had also gone missing.
Killarney House in Co Kerry was once home to the Earl of Kenmare and hosted Queen Victoria in 1861.
It has been in State ownership since 1978 and is currently undergoing an €8.5m restoration, with the house and gardens due to open next year.
The contents of the house, including 81 artworks valued at €920,000, were catalogued and placed in storage in 1999 pending the restoration work.
According to Mr McCarthy, the loss of a number of items was discovered in October 2012 after two paintings appeared at an auction and were recognised by staff from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Each painting was valued at around €32,000.
It was subsequently discovered that 39 items were missing, with a combined value of €520,000.
Mr McCarthy said a Garda investigation had been ongoing for three years. It is unclear if any of the missing art has been recovered.