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A group of high-profile Irish-Americans, including actor Liam Neeson and authors Colm Tóibín and Colum McCann, have written to the attorney general of New York, calling for the proposed sale of the American Irish Historical Society building in Manhattan to be stopped.

In a letter sent this week, the group calls on Letitia James, the attorney general for New York, to intervene in the sale of the landmark building, which was put up for sale last month for $52 million (€43.1 million).

“We believe that severing the Society from its time-honoured location, which for over eight decades has hosted leading thinkers, writers and artists from Ireland and Irish America is a tragic mistake that once made can never be reversed,” the signatories wrote. “We believe that, like St Patrick’s Cathedral and the St Patrick’s Day Parade, this architectural jewel is a living monument to the struggle and success of our immigrant ancestors.”

Among the signatories to the letter are some of Ireland’s best-known cultural and literary figures such as Mr Neeson, Mr Tóibín and Mr McCann, as well as poets Paul Muldoon and Micheal O’ Siadhail and Irish-American novelist Alice McDermott. Representatives from organisations like the Irish Repertory Theatre and the Glucksman Ireland House in New York have also signed the appeal.

The letter is also directly addressed to the attorney general’s charities bureau, amid expectations that the division may have to approve the sale of the building because it is owned by a non-profit.

The American Irish Historical Society has put the beaux-arts property on Fifth Avenue on the market for $52 million.