Fears beloved White O’Morn cottage in Maam, Co. Galway will remain a pile of rubble if state intervenes.The Quiet Man

The dilapidated cottage which featured in "The Quiet Man" was officially placed under state protection yesterday.

Members of Galway County Council unanimously agreed to add White O'Morn cottage, in Maam in Connemara, to its list of protected structures.

Earlier this year councilors voted to grant protected status to the remote dwelling, which has fallen into wrack and ruin since it featured in the 1952 John Ford-directed movie, which starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

And yesterday the final step was taken to formally protect the structure, with unanimous agreement from all 39 councilors present.

The campaign to safeguard the future of the property and restore it to its former glory had been backed by A-list celebrities including Liam Neeson, Michael Flatley, and Maureen O’Hara herself.

But the cottage's owner, California-based Greg Ebbitt, has voiced his concerns about the move, saying recently that he feared the crumbling cottage might never be restored once it has protected structure status.

He said: "It's always been my intention to restore it and it still is, but I'd be concerned that I won't legally be able to do anything with it if it's given state protection. My fear is that the ruling will mean it has to remain as a pile of stones."

What remains of the Quiet Man cottage.

What remains of the Quiet Man cottage.

Ebbitt, who's been the registered owner of the property since 1985, is currently facing the prospect of losing the house and its surrounding lands, as he fights an application from a neighboring farmer and businessman for adverse possession.

But yesterday campaign groups and local politicians, who have fought for years to safeguard the future of the iconic building, said they were delighted at the latest development.

Cllr. Tom Healy, who seconded the motion, said: "This was the final step in the process to add it to the list of protected structures and it means the cottage now has legal protection.

"It's brilliant that this has happened, because a lot of people and Quiet Man groups have been campaigning for this for a long time.

"There's an adverse possession case ongoing at the moment, but that aside, this is a massive step in securing the future of the cottage and safeguarding any future development there."

Belfastman Paddy McCormick, who has been advocating for action on the cottage for 15 years with the White O’Morn Foundation, shared the news on the White O’Morn Cottage’s Facebook page, which is approaching 30,000 followers.

“Galway County Council has given Sean and Mary Kate's 'wee humble cottage' a fighting chance – and each and every one of your petition signatures has played a vital role in moving things forward,” the post read.

Homeric!!! Earlier today Galway County Council voted 'YES' and added 'The Quiet Man' cottage fully to the official...

Posted by White O’Morn Cottage on Monday, July 20, 2015