A new initiative to protect stately homes in Ireland

David McCullagh reports from NUI Maynooth, where An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has announced government approval for a new heritage trust.

When Lissadell House, the childhood home of Constance Markievicz was for sale, there were calls for the state to purchase it, but when they balked at the running costs, it went into private hands. More great houses could face this situation, as most are in private ownership and there is a danger that within a generation most of them will be lost. For this reason, historian Terence Dooley wrote a report recommending a national trust to protect such properties. According to An Taoiseach

It won't change the world between now and Christmas, but I think over time, it will protect the built heritage in this country like we have not been able to do over the last hundred or two hundred years.

Terence Dooley says this is a very significant announcement.

An RTÉ News report from 9 September 2005. The reporter is David McCullagh.