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Sunday 25 March 2018

Gardai called in after vandals attack signs leading to Lissadell House

Barrister Constance Cassidy
Barrister Constance Cassidy

Greg Harkin

Gardaí are searching vandals who have destroyed signs giving directions to Lissadell House in Co Sligo.

The estate's owners say they are "deeply saddened" that attacks have not ceased, despite the re-opening of the house and the creation of 20 jobs.

Barristers Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy moved back to the house last year after winning a legal battle with Sligo County Council over rights of way on the estate. The Supreme Court ruled the couple were entitled to say that 95pc of pathways were private.

The issue only arose after the couple closed off the main thoroughfare to their home after a number of incidents involving joyriders. They said the property was no longer safe for their seven children.

The legal battle left ratepayers in Sligo with an estimated €7m legal bill. Over the past week, however, three signs on minor roads leading to Lissadell have been cut down or smashed.

The removal of one of them would have required the use of heavy lifting equipment, according to Mr Walsh.

"It is so sad to see this. There are so many good vibes around Lissadell locally and in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal with the re-opening of the estate and the creation of jobs locally," he said.


"It's clear, however, that not everyone is happy with this. We believe we can expand what's on offer at Lissadell and increase visitor numbers to the North West, but someone clearly thinks that's a bad idea. Constance and I are saddened that not everyone has moved on."

One of the signs was for the new adventure centre on the estate, offering water sports and biking trips.

"It would have taken a substantial amount of effort and probably machinery to remove the signs," he said, adding that he's not sure why the attacks have come now.

"We had the royal visit of Charles and Camilla in May and the recent meeting of the Taoiseach and his cabinet here," said Mr Walsh.

"It has all been positive news for Sligo so it's hard to understand the grudge. It's not sporadic vandalism, it's sending a message to us."

Signs leading to the house - the ancestral of home of 1916 Rising leader Constance Markievicz - were cut down before when the family moved out of the house during the legal dispute.

Gardai confirmed they are investigating the vandalism.

"We won't let this affect us one little bit," Constance said.

Irish Independent

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