The former Convert of Mercy site in Westport

Mayo election boycott call from pulpit over 'a dark hole'

Priest’s anger over delay in tackling derelict convent site

A MAYO priest has called for a boycott of local elections unless action is taken to remedy an eyesore former convent building.

Speaking from the pulpit at Sunday Mass in Westport, Fr. Tony King described the old Convent of Mercy on Altamount Street in the town as 'a dark hole on the beauty of this parish'.

He has raised his concerns at council level but has received no response.

Fr. King told the congregation that walking up the street, he was reminded of the extraordinary transformation that was brought about there, the 'quiet revolution' that started 150 years ago through the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers.

They brought education to generations, opening doors for thousands.

He stated: “When I pass by there it saddens me deeply and beyond words to view the present scene.

“The state of the place, to put it kindly and mildly, is an absolute public disgrace.

“It is a dark hole now on the beauty of this parish. And it stands there as a memorial of amnesia of 150 years of generous service, and it is a monument of neglect.”

In January 2021, he said, he wrote to public representatives and the administration expressing his views.

Over the past nine years he has read reports and plans.

"Recently these appear again to be a ball of smoke to cover the inertia of a frozen administration and to try to appease the hurt of so many people in Westport.

"I am suggesting for your consideration as parishioners, and especially as citizens, that the next local elections be boycotted unless the restoration work on that site is completed."

* See full story on this week's issue of The Connaught Telegraph