State buys land to expand Wicklow Mountains National Park

Published by Ian Carey on

3rd August 2016

After coming under intense public pressure the Irish Government has decided to purchase 4,900 acres of land near the Dublin Wicklow border being sold by Nama.

The Minister of State for Regional Economic Development Michael Ring announced that close to 4,900 acres of land in the Dublin Mountains will be purchased by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and be added to Wicklow Mountains National Park.

The minister said that an aggreement to buy the land which is known locally as the Featherbeds. The land runs from Kippure Mountain to the Glenasmole Valley and includes two reserviors and parts are designated as Special Areas of Conservation.

It was until now held in private ownership but was put on the market recently by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) for the asking price of €2.5m.

Environmentalists and politicians immediately expressed concerns that it could lead to the land being used for development.

A petition calling for the State to purchase the land gained over 21,000 signature in the last few weeks. The petition was organised by Eamon Ryan TD leader of the Green Party.

Minister Ring told RTÉ News today that this purchase was ‘great news for the county’.

“The Acquisition by the State is a sign of our enduring commitment to preserve our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and visitors alike to enjoy,” he said in a statement.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “This really is great news. Retaining this land is a significant national as well as local development, which has widespread public support. This was a once in a lifetime chance to protect a large area of the Dublin Mountains for the hundreds of thousands of walkers and nature lovers who value the uplands as one of the great things about our capital city, and we’re glad that sense has prevailed.

“Nothing will change immediately with respect to the site, in terms of land access etc, but we now have certainty, and a real opportunity to develop this area into one of the finest attractions in the country. By developing the Dublin Uplands as a tourist destination, in conjunction with the extension of the Dodder Greenway running from the source of the river to the sea, this really is a unique opportunity.

“We commend every one of the 21,000 people who signed our petition calling for the Government to act to retain this land. This was people power in action – this deal wasn’t just going to happen by itself. It is a very good result for the country.”

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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.