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06 Jul 2022

Laois 'Heartbreaking' derelict 'wreck' brings tears to TV producer with links to village

A successful Irish TV producer with BBC and RTÉ has highlighted as 'heartbreaking' the dereliction that has occurred at a landmark building in Borris-in-Ossory which she has a close family link with.

Helen O'Rahilly is an Irish television producer and executive who has worked for RTÉ, the BBC. She was RTÉ's first female Director of Television Production and later became Director of Digital Television for the BBC.

She also has family roots in the south Laois village. She retweeted An Taisce pictures of Whites Hotel and the village Courthouse in Borris. The pictures show two decades of decay to a point where the roof is collapsing on the hotel. SCROLL THROUGH ABOVE.

She added a comment to two tweets on December 13

"Behind every derelict facade, a human story. In this case, my mother’s family owned this fine pub & hotel in Borris-in-Ossory. I visited it as a child many times to meet my country cousins. It's now a wreck. This is heartbreaking," she commented.

She she saw it only recently and "cried".

Ms O'Rahilly also posted a picture of her mother who used to go in a pony and trap to visit her family. 

The original tweet by An Taisce also highlighted the village courthouse and the twenty years of decay that has hit building.

An Taisce used the pictures to highlight "dereliction and vacancy" in Borris-in-Ossory. It said Whites was once an important coaching stop built around 1800 on the Main Street

An Taisce said the Courthouse, which dates to 1830, is a block distinguished by good quality sandstone dressing.

An application from the people of Borris-in-Ossory to revamp the courthouse was turned down in 2020.

The Government recently announced its Town Centre First Scheme which will see €100,000 going to 26 towns in Ireland with dereliction as a key problem to tackle. Rathdowney was chosen in Laois.

The future of the courthouse was also raised in December with Laois County Council. 

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