Wednesday 17 January 2018

Row breaks out over proposed plans to convert historic convent into mosque

Ballaghadereen Credit: Google Maps
Ballaghadereen Credit: Google Maps

Cillian Sherlock

A row has broken out over proposed plans to convert a historic convent into a mosque.

Pakistani businessman Mohammed Aslam intends to buy a protected, historic convent in Co Roscommon and convert it into a mosque.

The developer has placed an offer on St Mary’s Convent in Ballaghadereen, which was originally built in 1876 but has been unoccupied for the past 20 years.

The property is due to be auctioned shortly and was listed with a reserve price of €50,000, according to reports on Shannonside FM’s website.

However, former councillor Michael Scally has expressed disappointment in the plan.

"Good luck to the particular man if he’s interested in converting it into a mosque," Mr Scally told Shannonside FM.

"I would have preferred if the local diocese or the nuns or the Catholic community took the initiative to buy it or restore and do it up into a retreat house or a convalescing place for retired religious people," he continued.

Mr Aslam made headlines when he objected to Syrian asylum-seekers being accommodated in the town of Ballaghadereen, where his proposed mosque will be located.

He described the town as like a "desert with no businesses and nothing to do."

"If you bring the Syrians there, from my heart, you are punishing them," he said at the time.

These comments were met with criticism from some members of the local community in the town.

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