In a statement released this week, the citizens' group Fórum Cidadania LX accused the ministries of Finance and Culture of not complying with a ruling by the Lisbon Administrative Court that ordered them to close the doors and windows of this palace, located in the parish of Alcântara.
"Once the existence of graffiti on the façade of the Burnay Palace has been verified, which is clearly only possible because it is possible to access its interior, the present is used to denounce the disrespect of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Culture for the sentence passed by the Lisbon Administrative Court", the note reads.
According to the ruling in March of this year, the two ministries were obliged to clean up the inside of the building, close all open windows "to prevent further vandalism and exposure to bad weather, and also to draw up a "joint report recording the current state of the Burnay Palace".
This decision resulted from an injunction that had been brought by the association Fórum Cidadania LX.
Five months after this sentence was asserted and following the accusations that they were not complying with it, both ministries guaranteed, in a reply sent to Lusa agency, that they have taken several procedures to safeguard the building and avoid acts of vandalism.
"The DGTF (Directorate General of Treasury and Finance) has taken measures to protect and safeguard the Burnay Palace. In July 2021 the PSP was asked to reinforce surveillance of security conditions and locks were replaced and in September 2021 work was carried out to clean and deforest the surrounding park; in April 2022 work was completed to close windows," the Ministry of Finance described.
The response from the ministry headed by Fernando Medina, former mayor of Lisbon, also said that "the cleaning works were completed at the end of July and that information was provided to the court in August".
"Despite the efforts and permanent diligence, and in the face of new intrusions in the Burnay Palace, which the DGTF greatly regrets, new procedures were initiated to close openings on a more permanent basis and contact was again made with the 4th Division of the PSP (Public Security Police) in Lisbon so that additional surveillance can be carried out," the ministry also indicated.
In the same sense, the Ministry of Culture, under Pedro Adão Silva, informed Lusa, through the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage (DGPC), that "all openings that lead to the outside were closed" and that "a general cleaning was made inside the building.”
"The report was prepared by a qualified company and delivered on 3 March 2022, within the deadline extension granted by the Court, which recorded the state of conservation of the interior of the property and made recommendations for future interventions, according to basic principles of conservation and restoration," indicates the DGPC.
The state body also states that, "as part of the preparation of this report, the existing waste was sorted, mostly from the fall of decorative coatings of ceilings and walls, which could have value in future intervention or heritage information", noting that the final cleaning was completed on 29 July this year.
The Burnay Palace, also known as the Palace of the Patriarchs because it was the official summer residence of the patriarchs of Lisbon, is located on Rua da Junqueira, in the parish of Alcântara. This palace, classified as a Public Interest Building since 1982, was built by Vasco César de Meneses, and the construction work took place between 1701 and 1734. It was later acquired by Henrique Burnay, 1st Count of Burnay, and underwent alteration and restoration work in the 19th century and more recently in the early 1940s.