independent

Friday 26 December 2014

Avoca Mines reopening plan moves step closer

Published 30/04/2014 | 05:22

The Avoca Heritage Committee has moved a step closer to having the local disused mines reopened as a tourist and heritage attraction as Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Fergus O'Dowd has acknowledged the site's potential in this area.

A Dáil question tabled by Wicklow TD Billy Timmins recently raised the issue ot the old Avoca Mines, for which the local committee has sought permission for some time.

'I am aware of and appreciate the tourism and amenity potential of the former Avoca mine site. This issue co-exists, however, with the public health and safety aspects, environmental conditions and industrial heritage preservation in the area. It is essential that an appropriate balance be struck in dealing with the various matters. In the first instance funding is being made available to identify and undertake essential public health and safety works over the three year period 2014 to 2016. These works will address public health and safety concerns and deal with certain environmental risks. While it is not possible to develop a tourist walkway at the Avoca mine site in the current remediation programme, work will be undertaken in a manner that allows for such an initiative to be integrated into future developments,' said Minister O'Dowd.

'This is the first time that a minister with responsibility for the ownership of the minesite has acknowledged the tourism and amenity potential of the minesite or the possibility of developing walking trails on it,' explained Mary Merrigan of Avoca Heritage Committee.

'The Avoca Heritage Committee has worked unceasingly for many years to preserve the unique heritage of the Avoca minesite. The aim of this project is to protect and preserve the mine heritage features and the mine landscape by developing the mine-site into a public park.

'Walking trails would be developed throughout the site and an interpretation of the site and its features would be provided through leaflets available locally, added Ms. Merrigan.

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