Councillor Patrick Clarke: National Park Issues Need Clarified

Folowing from last week’s packed meeting in the Slieve Donard resort and Spa with over 500 attendees, Alliance Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke has urged the Minister for the Environment to give full clarification and outline the legal rights and implications for farmers and landowners regarding their land being considered for designationfor National Park status within the Mournes and Slieve Croob area.

Councillor Clarke said:  “There are a very significant number of famers and land owners who are deeply concerned at the implications and restrictions they would face if National Park status was awarded to the Mournes and Slieve Croob which is already an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Clarification needs to be addressed publicly by Minister Alex Attwood, Minister for the Environment.

“Areas such as planning permission for both dwellings and farm buildings, rates, insurance implications, and public rights of way across farms. All of these issues to my mind have not been addressed adequately to give farmers and land owners clarification.”

“There is clearly a strong majority of farmers and landowners who feel that a National Park within the Mournes and Slieve Croob would not be in their favour in a complex area of bureaucracy as well as governmental control of their land.

“The Minister for the Environment needs to outline publicly how a National Park will impact on the daily lives and financial incomes of farmers and land owners living within the National Park.

“Politicians simply telling farmers and land owners the benefits of a National Park and ignoring the disadvantages and restrictions is disingenuous and will only lead to stronger opposition to a National Park within the Mournes and Slieve Croob.”