Wexford's Friary needs urgent repairs

By David tucker

Published 30/01/2016 | 00:00

Fr Ciprian points out the damage from the church gallery.
Fr Ciprian points out the damage from the church gallery.
Part of the collapsed cornice, showing the cracks beneath it.

the county council is to give The Friary €25,000 for urgent roof repairs - however the actual cost of the work is likely to be more than double that.

Friary Guardian Fr Ciprian Budau said that part of the inner cornice in the historic church recently collapsed and he fears that more damage could happen unless urgent work is carried out.

Appealing for more funds, Fr Ciprian said that so far he had only obtained one quote to repair the cornice and for other necessary work and that was more than €60,000.

'I am grateful for whatever we receive from the council,' he said, 'and I am well aware that it's not the only job in Wexford that needs their support.'

Fr Ciprian said that repair work carried out in the 1980s was the root of the current problem with timber joists bending under the weight of inflexible cornices.

'Part of the cornice collapsed and we roped off that area, but we would be concerned about more of it coming down,' he said, 'it's a serious problem and at this stage we don't really know the extent of it and there's no point in just doing half of it.

'Being a preserved building, the costs are always higher than regular repair work.'

The priest said The Friary had also suffered some damage during the recent storms, with a leak appearing in St Anthony's Shrine, 'but hopefully that is covered by insurance.' Mayor Cllr Ger Carthy said the €25,000 was an initial payment and the council was committed to providing money to deal with the problem. 'I met with representatives of The Friary prior to Christmas and am happy that the money has been found to have the problem fully investigated.'

'The Friary has a very special place in the hearts of Wexford people and I think it is important that the money is provided to maintain the building,' said Cllr Carthy.

The Friary, founded by the Franciscans in 1230, was confiscated in 1540 upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries and then returned to the order in 1622. The present church has been run by the Grey Friars since 2007.

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