An Taisce says it is disappointed that historic Lissadell House in Co Sligo has been purchased for private, not public, use.

The body wished its new owners every success in conserving Lissadell House and demesne, and supported their intention to retain the same access for the public enjoyed under Sir Jocelyn Gore-Booth.An Taisce also called for Heritage Trust legislation, which would empower the voluntary sector to undertake the ownership and management of properties such as Lissadell House in the future.

The Mayor of Sligo earlier condemned the Government over its failure to buy Lissadell House.

Alderman Sean McManus said Lissadell could have become a landmark tourist destination with the potential to attract up to 100,000 visitors a year.

The owners of the house, Sir Josslyn and Lady Jane Gore-Booth, have confirmed that it has been purchased by an Irish couple who intend to keep it open to the public.

Sir Josslyn said he was disappointed that the State had not decided to purchase the 19th century mansion which was the childhood home of Countess Markievicz.

In a statement the Department of the Environment said that in changed economic circumstances the expenditure of up to €28 million on the purchase of the house and restoration work could not be justified.