Press Release: Friends of the Murrough shocked to learn of proposal for new port at Wicklow Bay
Minister John Gormley's visit to the Wicklow Town: Wicklow News: 8 April 2008
Extension approved for Murrough grant. Wicklow News: 1 April 2008
Planning next step for Murrough. Wicklow News: 1 April 2008
Murrough mass concern. Wicklow News: 11 March 2008
Failte Grant could save Murrough. Wicklow News: 11 March 2008
Minister questioned. Wicklow News: 11 March 2008
Murrough restrictions. Wicklow News: 11 March 2008
A hopeful plan for a historic town. Wicklow News: 11 March 2008
Council failing to protect the Murrough. Wicklow People: 12 March 2008

PRESS RELEASE 6TH JUNE 2008

Friends of the Murrough are shocked to discover that local Wicklow County Councillors have made late changes to the draft plan, which now states that Wicklow Bay is a likely location for a new port.

Many of these Councillors had initially indicated their support, and by signing a petition along with over 2,500 other people, implied that they recognised the value of the Murrough as an amenity area.

Friends of the Murrough had submitted a lengthy proposal to the Councillors for a Special Amenity Area Order, for development controls, and for reinstatement of traditional walkways in the Murrough/Broadlough area and along the cliffs.

While we welcome the proposal for a study for a loop walk on Wicklow Head we had also suggested that development on the land zoned for industry along the Murrough should be low rise and low impact. In the Councillors’ late amendment, not only were their proposals for control and development very vague but they also introduced the new idea of moving the port along Wicklow Bay and the Murrough.

This raises a number of concerns for Friends of the Murrough

  1. As well as a port, what ancillary developments will be built? Will they be compatible with an amenity area?
  2. Will these developments entail land reclamation in the bay? What would the impact of this be on further coastal erosion? The Dublin Port EIS notes “if all future increases in unitised trade were to pass through Wicklow Port, the scale of the capacity required would entail massive reclamation and many subsequent environmental impacts, both human and natural”.
  3. What do the people of Wicklow Town think of this and have they even been asked? Whose idea is it and whose interests does it serve?
  4. Who is going to pay for all this? As well as making a major contribution to the port access road, will Wicklow Town people be expected to pay for this too?
  5. What will become of the only scenic amenity in the town?

These issues will be discussed at a public meeting on Thursday 19th June at 8pm in the Blue Room, Grand Hotel, Wicklow. The public are encouraged to attend. For further information, contact Pat Kavanagh 0862099562

From Wickow News Tuesday 8th April 2008

Minister John Gormley's visit to the Wicklow Town by Krystina Pollard

On Monday 7th April Mr. Gormley was handed material by Friends of the Murrough and said he supported their call for a Special Amenity Order for the beauty spot. "I'll have a look at all of the applications but I think in general and in principal, yes, we are very supportive of preserving our heritage," he stated.

From Wicklow News 1 April 2008

Extension approved for Murrough grant by Krystyna Pollard

Wicklow County Council has appointed a director to coordinate the application for a €115 million Failte Ireland grant for tourism infrastructure.
The funding has been established to help develop physical tourism infrastructure and reinvest in facilities from now until 2013. Part of the money, the annual €15 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund, is set aside specifically for the development of physical products in the public sector.
A recent meeting in Wicklow Town was told scenic areas such as the Murrough could benefit from the application as the fund can be used specifically for controlled access to environmentally sensitive areas and leisure route development such as walking and cycling paths.
Wicklow county councillor Pat Casey last week welcomed the appointment of the director to oversee the grant application.
“The county manager has appointed one of the directors in charge of the application. That means it’s up to him to co-ordinate the application from the different directorships within the council” Cllr Casey explained.
“I am very happy that the manager has appointed one of the directors to coordinate the overall application for grant aid.”
Wicklow County Council was granted a one-month extension of the March 25 deadline for applications and would mainly focus on funding for a coastal walk and loop walks, Cllr Casey said.
“They also have something in relation to the film industry and a mining project in Avoca (involving) some form of interpretation” Cllr Casey said. “I think it’s vitally important that we get the application in for the coastal walk and for other loop walks that are possible within the coastal area.
“Now a director has been appointed, it must be ensured they follow through the application to the end and that it just doesn’t stop today. We also have next year and the next five years to submit an application form for €115 million over five years.

From Wicklow News 1 April 2008

Planning next step for Murrough grant by Krystyna Pollard

An information pack outlining the uniqueness of the Murrough is being prepared for Environment Minister John Gormley by a local community group.
The pack, prepared by Friends of the Murrough, will contain information about various plans and legislation relating to the area as well as an outline of all its special features.
During a meeting at the Leitrim Lounge last Tuesday, members of the group stated that while development could not be prevented on land already zoned in the area, it should be appropriate to the site and should not block access to walkways.
“(Some of the land) is zoned. We are not going to suddenly turn it into a nature park but we can make sure what is already zoned is developed appropriately,” planning consultant Judy Osborne told the group.
The group welcomed some new faces to the meeting, including several long-time local residents wanting to keep the area accessible. The meeting also featured a static display of the group’s new website – www.saveourshores.eu – launched last week.
Concerns were also expressed about how locals are too laid back about protecting the area, an issue Judy said could be put down to people feeling powerless to do anything. “I think people feel helpless and they don’t know what to do,” she explained. “I don’t think people don’t care…generally people just don’t know what to do. We can teach them.”
Bray Green Party councillor, Ciaran O’Brien told the group a Special Amenity Area Order (SAAO) it was seeking to protect the area as a public amenity was not “the total answer, but it’s a tool to get towards what you want”.
Friends of the Murrough are appealing to those with a few hours to spare this Sunday, 6th April to take part in the An Taisce Spring Clean Day. Volunteers will gather at Kilcoole, Newcastle, Killoughter and the Murrough in Wicklow from 11 am to spruce up the area.
For more information call Pat Kavanagh on 086 209 9562

From Wicklow News 11 March 2008

Murrough mass concern by Krystyna Pollard

It was standing room only at Wicklow’s Grand Hotel as more than 200 people packed a public meeting to discuss the future of the Murrough last week.
Some stood for more than two hours to hear expert speakers outline the threats facing the Murrough during the Save Our Shores (SOS) meeting last Tuesday, and joined in a lively question time at the end.
The audience raised concerns on everything from dog dirt to erosion, with many dismayed at “inappropriate” fencing erected by Iarnrod Eireann which resulted in a loss of walkway at Five Mile Point.
“I was shattered when I saw it,” one resident told the meeting. “It’s unbelievably crass.”
Another woman wanted to know what steps could be taken against Iarnrod Eireann “to prevent further desecration”, while Wicklow town councillor Conal Kavanagh berated the company for what he termed its “high-handed and arrogant attitude to local representatives”.
Planners were warned against the “irresistible demand” of granting permission further along the Murrough as infrastructure improved, and one man bluntly demanded satisfaction.
“I am sick of reports, I want action,” he fumed.
Meeting chairman Niall Byrne, who proposed to his wife on the Murrough, said numbers present showed how desperately concerned locals were about the area. “We want to show our councillors and TDs we are not going away. We are here to stay and we are going to act,” Mr. Byrne told the cheering audience.
Bird expert Anne Newton explained what the Murrough was and species that inhabit it, while Birdwatch Ireland general manager Oran O’Sullivan outlined threats to wetlands. Wicklow Tidy Towns committee chairman Ken Lauder urged those present to work with commerce to help save the area, while 17-year-old student Jessica Carroll eloquently read a letter written by Fintan Clarke to a slide accompaniment.
Friends of the Murrough’s Pat Kavanagh rounded off the speakers by urging people to sign a petition calling for a Special Amenity Area Order to protect the ~Murrough as a public amenity.
The petition can be signed online at www.saveourshores.eu
More information is available from Pat on 086 209 9562.

From Wicklow News 11th March 2008

Failte Grant could save Murrough by Krystyna Pollard

The Murrough could benefit from part of an annual €15 million Failte Ireland grant but no directors at Wicklow County Council were allocated responsibility for applying, a local councillor said.
Cllr. Pat Casey told the SOS meeting he was “very disappointed with the reaction from directors of Wicklow County Council” after he got an application for a grant under the tourism infrastructure fund as part of Failte Ireland’s Tourism Product Development Strategy. The fund was established to help local authorities develop tourism infrastructure, and can particularly be used to fund controlled access to environmentally sensitive areas and leisure route developments such as walking and cycling paths.
“Local Authorities often do not have the funds to prioritise tourism needs. The ‘Tourism infrastructure fund’ is needed to provide and maintain such facilities” a report on the fund states.
The fund is worth €15 million a year from 2003 to 2013, but Cllr Casey said no one has been given the responsibility for the application. “Not one director has been appointed to deal with this Failte Ireland application, they have not been given responsibility for it,” he said after the meeting. “I want the manager to make a director responsible for Failte Ireland applications.”
The cut-off date for this year’s application is March 25 but the manager requested an extension of one month, Cllr Casey said.
No response was received from Wicklow County Council over the issue at the time of going to print.

From Wicklow News 11th March 2008 – Minister Questioned

On the Murrough and Iarnrod Eireann’s fencing of the area were discussed during a local authority deputation to Environment Minister John Gormley. Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly Cathaoirleach and Wicklow town councillor Conal Kavanagh requested the minister consider the matters during a deputation to Dublin following last Tuesday’s meeting to save the Murrough.
“I asked him to consider the matter of coastal erosion on the east coast … and urgently review the situation in relation to funding (to help stop erosion), which up to now has been inadequate,” Cllr Kavanagh said after the deputation last Friday.”(I also discussed the fact that) Iarnrod Eireann is not accountable to any local authority regarding their fencing.
“He committed to look into it but did not come back with any formal response on the matter.”

From Wicklow News 11th March 2008-03-15

Murrough Restrictions

Access to one of Wicklow town’s key amenity areas may be further restricted if plans by the contractors building the new sewage treatment plant go ahead, the town council has heard.
Town engineer, Paccelli Flood, told the monthly meeting of the council that they needed to lay three pipes beneath the promenade which would restrict people accessing the Murrough from Leitrim Place.
However, Cllr. Irene Winters pointed out that signs had already been put up to say that access to the Murrough from the Metal Bridge near the railway tracks was to be blocked for the construction of the Port Access Road. “I can’t understand why the walkway was not preserved with the port access work is being carried out,” she said. “They have to walk from the railway bridge the whole way back along the river to Leitrim Place before getting across to the Murrough.” She added that it was her belief that the original plan was that if the tanks were to be put under the green at Leitrim Place and along the prom, that a whole new walkway would be developed to the Murrough.

From Wicklow News 11th March 2008

A hopeful plan for a historic town by Lynn Glanville

Wicklow has fantastic amenities but they are underexploited, consultants employed to access the town have concluded. The Paul Hogarth Company identified 14 projects for the town council to undertake in order to improve Wicklow and draw people into the town. The consultants presented the draft public realm which focuses on the form and use of outdoor areas in Wicklow that are accessible to the public. Outlining Wicklow’s fantastic qualities to the monthly meeting of Wicklow Town Council, James Hennessy highlighted the compact and historic town centre with fine buildings which he said held the key to the futiure of the town.
However, he said a number of major assets could play a much greater role for local people and tourists. He pointed to the seafront and the Murrough, which he said were “not quite the quality” they could be.
In their vision for the town Mr. Hennessy said “Wicklow town will be a diverse and attractive place with historic streets and squares providing the core of the town, improving it as a place to work and visit”.
The plan identifies 14 projects for the council to follow up.

From Wicklow People 12th March 2008

Council failing to protect the Murrough

Wicklow county council are failing to protect the Murrough shoreline, members of Save Our Shores campaign heard this week.
Over 200 people at a meeting in the Grand Hotel were told that their local authority is stalling over funding which could help ‘better preserve’ the coastal pathway. Cllr. Pat Casey told the group that Wicklow County Council is ‘failing to avail of funding for the Murrough under the National Development Plan,’ despite being aware of this funding since Feb 2. ‘Instead, the council have requested a time directive, which is a complete waste of time when applications must be completed by March 25.’