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Notre Dame fire: French MPs pass law to rebuild fire-ravaged cathedral in five years

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AFP
Notre Dame fire: French MPs pass law to rebuild fire-ravaged cathedral in five years
Copyright  Reuters   -  

French MPs have approved a law aimed at restoring the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral within five years.

A special bill was drafted to manage the renovation of the Paris landmark, whose roof was largely destroyed in a blaze last month.

The Gothic structure is a national treasure and many people mourned as flames engulfed the 850-year-old cathedral.

The law was adopted by 32 votes in favour, five against and 10 abstentions after a long debate on Friday. 

It will now go before senators for further scrutiny later in May. 

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, donations flooded in for the cathedral's restoration. So far, nearly €1 billion has been raised.

"Yes, we want to move quickly. Some have accused us of wanting to move too quickly but the outpouring of generosity was very fast so we can and must respond, which is what we are doing," said culture minister Franck Riester.

"In this task awaiting us, we will not muddle up speed with haste. We need to offer Notre Dame a restoration worthy of its splendour and what it symbolises."

France President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants the structure renovated in five years. But opposition MPs have been critical, saying it is unrealistic and motivated by the fact Paris is hosting the Olympic Games in 2024.

"An old lady just fell and before even doing a diagnostic on her state we're giving her a prescription and demanding she prepares for a marathon," said Clementine Autain.

The cathedral was already being renovated when the fire struck and it's not yet known whether that work played a part, or what else might have caused the blaze.