Mourne’s Gateway In Donard Park Needed Says Hazzard

Mournes Gateway In Donard PArk Needed Says Hazzard

Hazzard seeks Mourne’s Gateway into Donard Park

Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has asked Newry Mourne & Down Council to urgently invest in a fit for purpose Mourne’s gateway in Donard Park, Newcastle. 

The South Down MP was speaking following a site meeting in Donard Park with senior Council management to discuss the lack of visitor information and facilities. 

Mr Hazzard said: “The Mournes are a unique natural asset, not only in the local Council district, but across the north of Ireland, and indeed much further afield. 

Calling for a bespoke entrance as a gateway to the Mourne’s: Cllr Cathy Mason and South Down MP Chris Hazzard.

“However the recent growth in visitor numbers in the post-Covid-19 period has starkly illustrated that the lack of fit-for-purpose, interpretive signage and information, not to mention the lack of visitor facilities, seriously undermines the visitor experience.”

The South Down MP added: “Donard Car Park is probably the most utilised access point onto the Mournes for visitors, yet signage and information is non-existent.

“This leads many visitors to wonder aimlessly off into nearby residential areas and many more to commence their ascent without the appropriate safety advice or emergency Information. 

“There needs to be significant investment in upgrading this access point in keeping with the Mourne’s status as one of Ireland’s most environmentally sensitive natural assets. 

“Its important that this new gateway is co-designed in partnership with those local organisations and charities with a responsibility for protecting both people, and the Mourne’s landscape.”

Cllr Cathy Mason added: “With visitor numbers to the area doubling over the pandemic, it is critical that people enter the Mourne’s in the safest possible manner; are aware of the access points, trail difficulty information, and personal safety equipment they will need. A gateway project and signage would improve this drastically. 

“I would hope that this important initiative could be progressed as soon as possible, so that the new facilities would be in place for next year’s peak visitor season.”