| 10.1°C Dublin

Farmleigh furniture to stay in new loan deal

The country's most extravagant guesthouse is set to be saved from being stripped bare -- as talks are progressing for a new loan of the contents of Farmleigh House.

The Government is currently in talks with the Guinness family about the contents of Farmleigh, which were not bought outright by the State when it purchased the stately home.

And an OPW source says it is confident that a new 10-year agreement will be made for the loan of the valuable contents.

"It's looking very good. More than likely a new agreement will be reached. Discussions are ongoing."

He added: "It was [originally] a loan so more than likely it will be again."

While the State bought and refurbished the mansion, at enormous cost to the taxpayer, to provide luxury accommodation for visiting dignitaries, it does not own many of the fixtures and fittings.

Instead an initial legal loan of the fittings by the Guinness family was agreed in 1999 to run for 10 years, and it was then extended until March 2010.

Fears had been circulating that if a new loan agreement was not drawn up, the mansion would be left without furnishings.

But the OPW is confident it will get a new loan and it is negotiating for an extension of the loan period on certain antiques and items.

The OPW refused to give exact details on the items, since it couldn't do so without the prior knowledge of the Executors. A spokesperson for the OPW said: "We hope to conclude a new loan deal by mid-April."