Tuesday 23 January 2018

New chapter to be a positive one

Constance Walsh, Jane Walsh and Elanor Walsh at Lissadell House.
Constance Walsh, Jane Walsh and Elanor Walsh at Lissadell House.

Emma Gallagher

"IT is over to the council to decide to move forward and if they do, they won't find us wanting."

The Walsh Cassidy family say that they want this new chapter in Lissadell to be one of positivity.

Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy also said that future concerts in the magnificent grounds will be in the pipeline.

Edward said: "We would like to think that there will be concerts, it is too late this year to do anything, but we certainly would want to work to do concerts.

"I think the concerts put Lissadell and Sligo on the map.

"I would love to think that for the Yeats 150 anniversary, that we could prevail upon Leonard to play again.

"We will certainly work to try and do something," he added.

He also praised the positivity from county manager Ciaran Hayes with regard to Lissadell.

He said: "I am pleased to hear that Ciaran Hayes said if there are concerts, he will work to try to support.

"As we have said to Ciaran in correspondence, if he is positive then we will be positive.

"Positivity meets positivity," Edward pointed out.

Constance said that she was delighted that the re-opening will be carried out by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Friday.

She said: "Everyone is welcome, children, mammies, grannies, the whole public.

"We want people to be here before 4pm.

"The grounds, coach house and all gardens will be open.

"They are all there for everybody to enjoy."

Edward said that the 'rapid' decision to re-open all happened in the last fortnight.

He said: "We decided after the case that we needed time.

"The kids were anxious to see Lissadell coming back.

"They felt that without Lissadell in operation, always a big gap within the family."

Another factor were the 'many' messages of support they received from people.

"We felt let's try and move forward."

Edward admitted that it was him that took most convincing to return to Sligo after the lengthy court battles.

"It was devastating.

"I felt that what I had achieved in Sligo between 2003 and 2008 could be so simply ignored by the county council.

"They put forward a motion, we wrote to them and we asked them to hold fire, to not pass the motion and they just ignored it.

"I thought well if that is so then it was so obvious a snub.

"I was shocked by the outcome in the High Court.

"We made the decision that we were going to appeal.

"When we lost, I took the view that that was the end for me in Sligo."

It took months, even after the Supreme Court decision, for him to come back to Lissadell.

However the encouraged by Constance and their children changed his mind.

He said: "I think the future of Lissadell is one of optimism, of hope.

"It is going to be difficult as the last number of years have been damaging and costly.

"I want to do away with the negativity, I want to look at the positives.

"There was such a waste there, I hope that the future years will not be a waste," he maintained.

Constance said that she believes having Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the re-opening will be great for Lissadell.

She said: "I am delighted that the Government is showing us some support."

Despite the difficult five years, she praised her husband's 'enormous vision' for the estate.

Constance said: "I have never met anybody like Eddie and I don't know has Sligo ever met anybody like Eddie.

"We were completely knocked sideways by what happened to us and it was a very tough time.

"When we won in November, it took us probably four months to persuade Eddie to come down again.

"Lissadell is not a big house, it is a family home.

"We love it here and the children love being back here."

Sligo Champion

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