Tuesday 17 September 2019

Notre Dame fire prompts Taoiseach to consider review of fire precautions at historic sites in Ireland

Firefighters are continuing to work at the cathedral (AP)
Firefighters are continuing to work at the cathedral (AP)

The devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris means Government will consider a major review of fire precautions at Irish historic buildings, the Taoiseach has said.

Mr Varadkar said such a review “could be a good idea” and he would consult the Housing and Heritage Ministers about such a move.

Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old Notre-Dame cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.
Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old Notre-Dame cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.
(PA Graphics)

The Taoiseach was replying to Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, who raised the issue.  Mr Varadkar said a fire precautions review had taken place on apartment blocks following the Grenfell tower fire tragedy in London last summer.

Mr Howlin asked if, following the Notre Dame fire if there were plans for an audit at heritage buildings such as Dublin Castle, Christchurch or St Patrick’s Cathedrals, or at similar buildings around the country.  He said this could ensure these places are equipped with the latest fire protection systems.

The Labour leader said what happened in Paris “should be a wake-up call” for Ireland’s heritage property managers. He suggested a fund for both private and public sectors to “ensure we take preventive measures in advance”.

Mr Varadkar said there were no plans at present but it was a “helpful suggestion” and he would take it up with the relevant Ministers. “It could be a good idea.”

Flames and smoke are seen as the interior at Notre Dame cathedral (AP)
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior at Notre Dame cathedral (AP)
The catastrophic fire engulfed the upper reaches of the Gothic cathedral (AP)
The Notre Dame Cathedral the day after the blaze (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Notre Dame Cathedral appears in several films and novels (Francois Mori/AP)
Sunrise on the morning after the fire (AP)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil that all Irish people extend their sympathy to France and to Catholics across the world after Monday’s devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Mr Varadkar said the fire was particularly devastating because it came during Holy Week which is a prelude to Easter, the feast of hope and re-birth.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin extended sympathy to the people of France on the damage to the “iconic and historic” cathedral.

“Many of us experienced the joy of visiting it and we extend our sympathy to the French people,” Mr Martin told the Dáil.

The spire and parts of Notre Dame cathedral on fire (AP Photo/Dominique Bichon)
The spire and parts of Notre Dame cathedral on fire (AP Photo/Dominique Bichon)
Smoke is seen around the alter inside Notre Dame (Philippe Wojazer/Pool via AP)
Horror: A woman reacts as she watches flames engulf the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
People pray as Notre Dame cathedral burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Parisians kneel and pray as flames engulf Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Devastated: Flames engulf the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Bystanders look on as flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
The cathedral is on an island in the Seine. Photo: REUTERS
Smoke ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Most Gothic of churches: Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris as it looked before renovation work started and a fire took hold. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a fire which destroyed much of the building on Monday Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said she had no doubt that the historic cathedral will be rebuilt, as she added her party’s expressions of sympathy.

“The world looked on with horror at the inferno at Notre Dame Cathedral,” Ms McDonald said.

Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, also extended sympathy to the people of Paris and France following the devastating fire.

"It's a world heritage site that we hope can be restored," the Labour leader told the Dáil.

Read more here: Explainer: How Notre Dame's age and design fuelled flames and hampered firefighters' efforts

Heart of Paris burns - iconic Notre-Dame is gutted by blaze

City of Lights now needs another Victor Hugo to champion its Gothic survivor

More than just a church: How Notre Dame has featured in film and fiction

Art world hails Notre Dame as monument to ‘the best of civilisation’ 

Online Editors

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