Friday 19 October 2018

Mullaghmore visitor centre `a flawed idea'

GERALD DEEGAN

THE concept of visitor facilities at Mullaghmore in the Burren National Park is fundamentally flawed and is not environmentally sustainable, an An Bord Pleanala oral hearing was told yesterday.

THE concept of visitor facilities at Mullaghmore in the Burren National Park is fundamentally flawed and is not environmentally sustainable, an An Bord Pleanala oral hearing was told yesterday.

That is the view of Environmental Consultant Jack O'Sullivan, who was making the opening statement on behalf of the Burren Action Group (BAG) on the second day of the hearing into the appeal by Minister of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands Sile de Valera against Clare County Council's decision to refuse planning for visitor facilities at Mullaghmore.

He stated the concept of the entry point in a relatively remote location which is not peripheral to the park, but centrally located, is fundamentally flawed, and will not serve to maximise the economic benefits to the local communities''.

He added that the proposal will lead to an increase in a number of visitors to an area which is not capable or suitable of dealing with such numbers, causing local damage to the internationally recognised habitats and environment which the Burren National Park is designed to protect.

The BAG, along with An Taisce, have also appealed the council's decision in a bid to strengthen the terms of the council's refusal on the grounds that the application materially contravened the County Development Plan.

Minister De Valera's application seeks to develop an Entry Point with toilets, ranger accommodation and a covered area on the site of the ill-fated interpretive centre.

The Minister is also seeking to retain a car park for 76 cars, and part of the exisiting treatment plant on a site of a disused quarry nearby.

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