A local councillor has called for the historic old schoolhouse in Clonsilla to be taken into public ownership and preserved for generations to come.
Cllr Matthew Waine (Solidarity) issued the plea after he discovered the building on fire on Saturday and called the emergency services to tackle the blaze.
The derelict building, believed to be in private ownership and managed by NAMA, has been the scene of antisocial behaviour and is frequently used by teenagers for late night drinking.
Cllr Waine told Dublin Gazette: “By pure chance I happened to be driving by the old schoolhouse on the Porterstown Road to show my kids and I noticed that someone had set fire to it.
“I managed to quickly ring the fire brigade, who were on the scene in five minutes. Thankfully the building was saved.”
The council’s local area committee had been discussing the heritage site as recently as last Thursday, arguing for it to be protected and renovated as an amenity for the local community.
Cllr Waine has now written to Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan urging her to intervene and for the State to acquire the building.
He wrote: “I am writing to you to ask for your assistance in securing a property of significant architectural and heritage importance, namely the Old School House on the Porterstown Road, Clonsilla, Dublin 15. I believe the property is a listed building.
“While Fingal County Council have spent money in the past in securing the property, this has not stopped anti-social behaviour from taking place on the site.
“I am concerned now that it is only a matter of time before significant damage is done to this historic building.
“Can I ask you to intervene in identifying if the property could be acquired by the State and passed into the ownership and responsibility of Fingal County Council so that it can be secured, protected, renovated and developed as an important amenity for our community?”
Cllr Waine says he is now awaiting a reply.
Echoing Cllr Waine’s concerns, Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind) told Dublin Gazette: “As a longstanding resident of Clonsilla, I have seen how the schoolhouse has deteriorated over the years and is decaying before our eyes.
“This is a historic building, and is truly an asset not only to the community of Clonsilla, but the community of Dublin 15, and beyond.
“I have laid down motions calling for a working group be set up, to source and draw down funding for the taking in charge and redevelopment of this historic building.
“I look forward to cross-party support for the motions when they come up in the council.”