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No pigs left in irish parlours-the Dail has its fair share though.!

A mere 2,000 Irish buildings,"pig in the parlour" style, with thatched roofs,(and sleeping accomodation within for the chickens and pigs ), survive across the country, according to a report published today.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche warned,in November 2005 that the thatched roof, an archetypal symbol of poverty pigs and rural Ireland, was "all too fast" coming under threat.

"We must find ways to ensure the survival of this building form, seen nationally and internationally as being part of what we are," he said.( ? )

The Present and Future Protection of Thatched Structures in Ireland report notes there are only 2,000 left in the whole country. It also highlights the loss of thatched roofs in Northern Ireland, from some 40,000 in the 1950s, to 150 today.

There has long been concern about the decline of thatch in Ireland and, despite the efforts of many different agencies, thatch is still being lost.

The report says there are many reasons for this, including the fragmented nature of the thatching trade, a widespread lack of detailed knowledge of thatch materials and techniques as well as a need for policy integration.

The report also includes useful data for owners of thatched buildings, their professional advisers and the building industry, including a list of thatchers, suppliers of thatching materials and insurers for thatched houses.

"I will be sending copies to all the relevant stakeholders and hope it will finalise an approach on how we implement the actions necessary to save our surviving stock of thatched buildings," said Mr Roche.So the "pig in the parlour" cottages will receive more subsidies to retain our "Pig in the parlour" image,which is a big tourist draw,and will ensure a steady flow of visitors to our quaint golf courses and overpriced hotels,said minister Dick Roche.

The rape of Lough Key,or the village of Cong in Galway is far from a pig in the parlour , Mr Roche, but your party has more important things on its mind - like pigs and thatched cottages. !Read on, if you will, Dick, and visit ;  http://www.soldiersofdestiny.org/therapeofloughkey.htm