r Sean Casey, Vincent Fay, Niall Meagher (Project Manager), Derek Timlin, Michael Bane, Fr Tom Healy and Kevin Fay with Cllr Seamus Butler and Bishop Colm O'Reilly at the signing of the contract
Cllr Seamus Butler looks back at the work undertaken to fully restore St Mel's Cathedral in Longford town
Christmas 2019 marks ten years since we experienced the devastating fire that befell our beloved St Mel’s Cathedral.
Bishop Colm O’Reilly vowed on that Christmas Day 2009 that we would rebuild. It was an honour and privilege to be asked to Chair the St Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee (SMCPC).
We held our first meeting on Thursday, February 11, 2010. We were daunted but determined with the task in hand. We soon realised what a complex and difficult task lay ahead of us. We insisted that we allow the people to see the damaged Cathedral.
When it was made safe to enter and leave by the transept doors, many people wept at the sight of the of the utter devastation. Having appointed a Project Manager and design team, it became obvious that we were going to use the opportunity to deliver a restored cathedral fit for the Liturgy of the 21st Century, designed by our Chief Architect Dr Richard Hurley RIP.
We negotiated a deal with our insurers and took the risk of being able to deliver on an agreed lump sum. In hindsight that was a risk well worth taking. In such a short article it is impossible to go into detail. Suffice it to say we delivered on time and on budget, with a large surplus to be returned to the parish for the Cathedral’s upkeep.
I wish to thank SMCPC members Bishop Colm, Bishop Francis, Fr Tom Healy, Fr Sean Casey, Fr James McKiernan and John Nugent with all the hundreds of very good people that toiled over and above their duty, to make St Mel’s Cathedral what is today.
- Cllr Seamus Butler, Chairperson, St Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee