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Monday 22 January 2018

Group 'dismayed' at sale of Russborough's €7m paintings

The paintings from the stately house in Co Wicklow, believed to be worth around €7m, were sold in a bid to keep the house from closing.
The paintings from the stately house in Co Wicklow, believed to be worth around €7m, were sold in a bid to keep the house from closing.

Jane O'Faherty

A national heritage group says it is "dismayed" at the sale of Old Master paintings from Russborough House.

The paintings from the stately house in Co Wicklow, believed to be worth around €7m, were sold in a bid to keep the house from closing.

But the National Conservation and Heritage Group said it offered to maintain the property in Blessington for free to avoid the paintings being sold off.

Damien Cassidy, the group's chairman, said he was not informed of the sale and that the group would have worked for free to maintain the house.

"They could have accepted our offer of volunteering, instead of selling these paintings.

"That's why we are so dismayed that no one lifted a phone to call us," he said.

The volunteers renovated Kilmainham Gaol in the 1960s, and Mr Cassidy said artefacts found in the prison were never sold.

Russborough House was left in trust to the people of Ireland by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit.

The Alfred Beit Foundation, the non-profit organisation looking after the house, has said a fund of up to €15m was needed for the house's long-term viability.

Irish Independent

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