Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has said that he is dismayed that Oldcourt Castle in Bray has been vandalised again. The vandalism at the castle which dates from the 1430’s has seen more of the original external wall destroyed along with all the emergency repair work that was carried out last year.
Deputy Brady said “Last year I worked with Wicklow County Council and the National Monuments Service to have emergency work carried out to Oldcourt Castle in Bray, this work was unfortunately necessary due to a number of acts of vandalism on the castle. Regrettably, the castle has been vandalised again, the emergency work has all been undone and further sections of the original walls have also been destroyed.”
“A number of individuals have been seen tampering with the castle and removing sections of the walls and I have passed all this information onto the Gardaí. Damaging a recorded monument is a specific offence under the National Monuments Acts and is subject to severe penalties on conviction. The Monuments Service have told me that they are available to assist An Garda Síochána in the event that sufficient evidence is secured to support a prosecution of the offenders who are causing the damage. I urge the Gardaí to take immediate action on this vandalism and ensure that those destroying our heritage are held to account.”
“I have a number of concerns due to the ongoing acts of vandalism; the structural integrity of the castle has been repeatedly undermined and I fear for the future of the castle which has stood for 600 years if these mindless acts of vandalism continue. There is also a concern for public safety as children have been seen on top of the castle having accessed entry through the damaged walls”
Cllr Dermot ‘Daisy’ O’Brien adds, “I would much rather have people experiencing the thrill of appreciating the stories and monuments of our heritage and history than the thrill of actively destroying a structure with no consideration for the risk or consequence of their actions.”
Deputy Brady continued, “I have been in contact with the National Monuments Service and Wicklow County Council again with a view of getting the castle immediately secured. I also think that there needs to be a broader conversation about what can be done to ensure the castle is permanently secured and that the people of Bray can go and have a look at this fantastic piece of our heritage. The castle is on private property, I think that providing public access to the castle will provide a level of passive surveillance that will help protect the castle. It will also give people a greater appreciation of the heritage we have on our own doorstep.”
“In the meantime, I urge people to contact the Gardaí immediately if they see anyone engaged in vandalising the Castle.”