A LOCAL councillor is calling for the immediate establishment of an emergency fund to help two families affected by Saturday’s fire in Adare.
Independent councillor for the area, Emmett O’Brien, said that one of the two thatched cottages in the tourist village gutted by the fire is believed to have been uninsured.
One of the cottages on Main Street was owned and occupied by two sisters from Adare, while the other was rented. The fire, which broke out around 1pm on Saturday, was battled by up to seven units of the fire service, with a water-tanker and a skylift used to extinguish the fire.
A neighbouring craft shop suffered water damage, but was not affected by the blaze.
There were no injuries and gardai are investigating the cause of the fire, which is thought to have happened accidentally.
Cllr O’Brien said “unduly onerous” conservation issues and high insurance premiums on one of the cottages, which were built in the 1800s by the Dunraven family, meant that it was not covered against fire.
“They were caught between two stools because on the one hand they couldn’t remove the thatch, and secondly there was no appropriate avenue for insurance,” he explained.
“The department of tourism and Limerick City and County Council are going to have to come together and think about some class of an emergency fund for this. Conservation orders are so rigid, you have these issues where people are hamstrung when it comes to insurance.
“These cottages are a signature part of Adare and are as quintessential to Limerick as the Cliffs of Moher are to Clare,” he added.
Fine Gael TD for Limerick Dan Neville said the incident was a “huge shock to the local community” and that it was “vital that every step is taken to rebuild the cottages as soon as possible and to prevent long term damage to Adare’s tourism industry”.
Elaine Murphy of 1826 Adare, a restaurant inhabiting a similar cottage nearby which was unaffected by the fire, said the incident was “traumatic and it was quite scary to watch, but thankfully nobody was injured”.