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Concern over safety of Easkey wall

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The camp site in Easkey and the stone garden wall of the neighbours to the right

The camp site in Easkey and the stone garden wall of the neighbours to the right

The camp site in Easkey and the stone garden wall of the neighbours to the right

A homeowner in Easkey has expressed concern about the safety of an old wall situated around her home after developments in the local caravan park nearby.

Lorely Forrester, who lives in the west Sligo village with her husband Rob, having moved there some years ago, says that work carried out on the campsite could have an adverse effect on a 200-year-old wall which provides the boundary between their home and the popular site which is often used by tourists visiting Easkey.

Ms Forrester told The Sligo Champion that "extra stress" had been put on the wall after part of it was knocked in years previously, and works now ongoing in the campsite threaten its stability further.

The Forrester's back garden is several feet lower than the height of the wall, with the level of the caravan park significantly higher than the garden.

The drop is in the order of some eight feet from the top of the wall into the garden.

"I live next door," Ms Forrester said.

"Our property is possibly 250 years old - it is definitely 230 years old. It is surrounded by a wall which is over 200 years old. It is a heritage wall, and is a protected structure.

"We look after it, and have repaired it. In the 1990s we rebuilt the wall with proper lime mix."

Recent developments in the caravan park close by, however, have worried the Forrester family and they now have fears that the wall could collapse if camper vans and tents park too close to it.

Works have also taken place, Ms Forrester says, on the campsite side of the wall, involving some heavy machinery such as a digger, which she believes to be potentially dangerous for the wall and it remaining in its current state.

The introduction of infrastructure to accommodate static caravans is also a concern for Ms Forrester as the excavation works required could also place stress on the wall that could lead to damage.

The proximity of tents, and subsequently camper vans, to the wall in recent weeks has led to complaints from Ms Forrester.

"One day about a week ago, I noticed a tent," Ms Forrester explained.

"Now, we seriously use the garden, and have done so - it is a key part of my life. The wall is there at the side, and I am now living slightly in fear of it collapsing.

"The level of the ground in the campsite is higher than the garden. It is a retaining wall and holding back the field.

"I saw a tent fixed to the wall, and I am not blaming the camper at all, but the point is that people going in there shouldn't go near the wall. We're pretty horrified about it.

"In the time that we saw the tent fixed to the wall, or the gate in the wall, it was hard to see, two camper vans came up and parked against the wall."

When contacted for comment, Sligo County Council told The Sligo Champion that they had received a complaint and an inspection was carried out.

This revealed that all campers and caravans had been removed from the area in question.

"Sligo County Council received a complaint that the caravan park in Easkey was being operated in contravention of its planning permission," they said.

"The alleged breach related to non-compliance with Condition No.3 of PL11/242 that no mobile home or caravan shall be sited within three metres of any site boundary.

"Following the issuing of a warning letter, a site inspection was carried out which found that all camper vans and caravans had been removed from the area which had been the subject of the complaint.

"Furthermore, the operators of the camping site have confirmed that measures will be put in place to ensure that the three metre buffer zone will be maintained in the future."

Ms Forrester says that her issue is part of wider issues with Easkey Community Council who did not wish to comment when contacted.

Attempts to resolve difficulties in the Easkey community have so far been unsuccessful, with mediation talks involving the Sligo County Council CEO Ciaran Hayes having stalled last year.

Sligo Champion