Siobhan Osgood, a local expert in GNRI (Great Northern Railway Ireland) buildings here in Dundalk, has expressed her fears for the preservation of historic buildings following the local council's announcement that they would be removing a shed thought to be built in the 1870s from the protected structures list.
Earlier this week The Democrat revealed that Louth County have given notice that they are to delete a railway carriage repair shed from the protected structures list.
In an email to the council, among others, Ms Osgood called on them to reconsider.
"Having completed research of this invaluable site of Irish railway engineering history, I am appalled and alarmed to learn that any part of the site is due for removal from a protected structures list. Rather, more ought to be added to it.
"The railway engineering works at Dundalk are of national historic, architectural, social, design, and technological importance, and their lack of protection from destruction is a huge insult to the identity of Dundalk, and to the enormous railway history of Ireland. I plead that this decision be reversed.
"The engineering works at Dundalk offer a wonderful site for redevelopment – sympathetic to the design and original use of the buildings. A transport or railway museum would be ideal, but even sympathetic housing conversions could use the site respectfully. What concerns me is that, free from protection, these buildings can be completely eradicated from history without any recompense. This would be an enormous disservice to Dundalk and to the national identity of Irish rail.
"In October 2017 I hope to begin a PhD researching the architecture across the GNRI’s route. Many old stations, platforms, buildings and houses either do not remain or are in a state of utter disrepair precisely because they are not protected structures. I am seeking to research and record these buildings before they, along with their social significance, are lost forever.
Ms Osgood implored the local authorities to be the "custodians of history" locally.
"I therefore beg you to not remove the carriage sheds from the protected structures list, but rather add more of the GNRI’s buildings to it. It is the responsibility of the local authority to protect and respect its heritage and preserve it for future generations, not demolish it completely.
"We are each the custodians of history and what we leave behind ought to be a better version of that which we inherited. Please conserve and protect these structures for future generations, and if they are to be redeveloped, please do so sympathetically and with as little damage to the structures as possible."
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