THE Browne family, owners of Westport House, have 'reluctantly and sadly' agreed to the sale of the iconic house and estate.
The family recently met with the estate administrators, who are acting under a remit from the High Court.
In a statement issued on behalf of the family, Ms. Sheelyn Browne said: “This is a very sad and emotional day for our family as we have done everything in our power to try to save the house and estate over the last eight years but now have to admit defeat in this battle as we have neither the resources or the energy to continue.
“The High Court appointed administrators are very clear that this is the only course of action open to us for both legal and financial reasons. Our fervent hope and wish is that someone will buy the house and estate and keep it open to the public so that it can continue to be the cornerstone of the tourist offering in our beloved Westport.
“Our plan is that Westport House will continue as a business for this season and will be fully open by Easter next.”
The High Court appointed administrators met with the family earlier this month and strongly advised the family that the only prudent course of action both legally and financially is to put the house and the estate on the market in advance of the tourist season and to seek to sell the entire estate as a going concern.
The family reluctantly agreed to the sale having decided to postpone any disposal last summer to try for one last time to see if the government wanted to step in.
The statement issued this morning continued: “The family is very concerned that the public has been led to believe that the future of Westport House was safe. In reality nothing has changed since September and the future of the house remains very uncertain.
“There has been no meaningful progress made over the last four months since the future of Westport House became the subject of local concern and widespread media coverage. The family’s hopes were raised last September when it was said that Mayo County Council were to step in and, as a first step, would acquire the loans from NAMA.
“The family has been in a very difficult position since the demise of their beloved father Jeremy Browne and the great uncertainty that surrounded the position of the loans then controlled by NAMA.
“The Browne family has regretfully accepted that as a result of this inaction there is now no choice but to put the entire property at Westport House up for sale. This decision has been taken by the administrators in consultation with the family and in fulfillment of obligations under their court appointment.”
The 18th century house and 455 acre estate is being put on the market as a going tourist concern.
No decision has been made on the sale of the contents of Westport House. A range of cottages and buildings is included in the sale, as are a number of tourism and accommodation opportunities: the old farmyard, estate offices, the Pirate Adventure Park, Gracy’s Bar and Caravan Park.
The sale will be advertised in Ireland, the UK and the USA. The property is being marketed nationally and internationally by Ganly Waters estate agents and any enquiries should be made to Robert Ganley, managing director.