New GARG Committee Elected for 2014/2015

On Friday 9th May at Grange Primary School, Greencastle Area Residents Group held a well-attended Annual General Meeting. The review from the preceding year outlined an increase in membership and a healthy financial status for the organisation at end of year. One of the major successes highlighted from the previous year was the ‘Down Memory Lane’ exhibition which ran over two days at Grange primary school displaying a vast array of cultural and historical memorabilia from Greencastle, past and present.

Following annual reports from Chairperson and Treasurer a new GARG committee was elected. Diarmuid Cahill, Hugo Thompson, Denise Cunningham and Susanna Harper were re-elected  into the positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer respectively.

In addition to these positions it was agreed to establish a new role for a PR officer responsible for communications with various stakeholders and leading campaigns on behalf of the group. Christine Gibson was proposed and elected into this role. Additional Ordinary members of the committee were elected as Sean Cunningham, Adrian Fitzsimmons, Joan Thompson, Niall Cunningham, Rory Thompson, Emma O’Rourke. GARG would like to thank all former, continuing and new members for their dedication and support for Greencastle.

GARG would like to extend a warm welcome to members of the public and advises that new membership is open to all. More details are available at www.greencastlecodown.org. Thanks also on behalf of GARG to Grange Primary School for the use of the hall on the evening for the meeting.

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Remedial Works to Commence at Cranfield Beach

Newry & Mourne District Council can confirm that the Contractor will be on site at Cranfield on Monday 26th May to carry out remedial works to Cranfield Beach to make it ready for the upcoming summer season officially starting on 21st June 2014.

The remedial works will take place as a result of serious damage that occurred to the Beach Frontage during the winter storms, the planned works will leave the facility ready for public use in 2014.

Council will also be looking at proposals to upgrade the Cranfield Beach facility and to protect it from future storms as a longer term project.

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RESIDENTS MEETING WITH MLA’s – Friday 9th May @ 7.30pm

RESIDENTS MEETING WITH MLA’s
FRIDAY 9th MAY 2014
Grange Primary School at 7.30pm.

 

RE: Proposed Ferry development between Greencastle and Greenore, namely the proposed terminal in Greencastle, and the proposed road changes to Greencastle Pier Road and the lack of proposals for the surrounding roads.

As requested by a number of residents GARG have been trying to facilitate a meeting with the locally elected South Down MLA’s and the residents in relation to the proposed Greencastle to Greenore Ferry Development.

A number of the MLA’s have confirmed that they would be willing to meet with residents on Friday 9th May 2014 at 7.30pm (before our AGM) for a Question and Answer Session.  Due to short notice and also the upcoming elections and other engagements not all six local MLA’s will be able to attend, but GARG will try to facilitate another meeting with these MLA’s over the coming weeks.

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GARG AGM – Friday 9th May 2014

The Greencastle Area Residents Group A.G.M.
Friday 9th May 2014
Grange Primary School – After meeting with MLA’s (approx 8pm)

The Greencastle Area Residents Group A.G.M. will be held on Friday 9th May 2014 in Grange Primary School at 7.30pm.  All members of GARG, including the residents of the Greencastle Pier Road and the Fair Road are strongly encouraged to attend.

The Agenda for the A.G.M. is as follows:
    Welcome
    Apologies
    Minutes of the previous A.G.M.
    Matters arising from the Minutes
    Chairperson’s Report
    Treasurer’s Report
    Election of Committee Members
    Discussion of Motions
    A.O.B.

Non-residents and non-members are welcome to attend but will not be entitled to vote at the A.G.M.

We look forward to seeing you at the A.G.M. Apologies can be forwarded by email to secretary@greencastlecodown.org or by telephone 028 417 63462.

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Photos of Greencastle over Easter Weekend 2014

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GARG AGM – Friday 9th May 2014

Greencastle Area Residents Group AGM will take place on Friday 9th May in Grange Primary School with an 8pm start.

We are sending out an email to all the MLA’s for the area to see if any of them will come along.

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Greencastle residents raise ferry concerns with Roads Service

TALKS have taken place between opponents of plans for a cross-border ferry service at Greencastle and officials from the Roads Service and planners.

Article appeared in Mourne Observer

Over two dozen residents took the opportunity last Tuesday to meet with representatives of Roads Service and Planning NI to voice concerns over the proposed Greencastle to Greenore ferry.

Residents have long expressed fears that the developer’s proposals do not adequately address their concerns.

The current planning application includes the building of a ferry terminal in Greencastle as well as plans for road upgrades – including the proposed introduction of passing bays along parts of Greencastle Pier Road.

During what representatives of Greencastle Area Residents Group described as “a lively discussion,” which took place beside the proposed location for the ferry terminal, residents explained to Roads Service that they felt the developer had failed to take their views into consideration.

They also outlined their concerns over a series of issues which they felt were not addressed or included within the planning application such as the introduction of cycle lanes, footpaths, access to and from various properties along Greencastle Pier Road, exiting the Fair Road, or a plan to deal with daily movements of herds by local famers.

Greencastle Area Residents Group treasurer, Susanna Harper, said last week’s site meeting provided an opportunity to express “clearly and unambiguously” the negative impact she feels this proposal will have on “the intrinsic character of the area.”

“We have an indigenous tourist appeal in Greencastle which sees the Greencastle Pier and adjoining roads in high demand for recreational use by visitors and locals throughout the year. It is clear that this tourist asset will be lost if this proposal is allowed to proceed – it would be devastating,” she added.

During the meeting local resident Brian Cunningham pointed out that should the plan come into effect, it would be “impossible” for him and his four-year-old son to cycle on the road as they currently do as it would be “completely unsafe to do so without a footpath or cycle lane.”

Also at the meeting local farmer Niall Cunningham expressed concern about moving his dairy herd.

Mr Cunningham added that he had no idea how the developer planned to accommodate this should the terminal be built, taking into account that at the height of the tourist session he could be moving his herds four times a day as well as having agricultural vehicles and machinery on the road.

Another resident Daiva Sherpar also expressed her concerns regarding the proposed road improvements and asked was it right for life-time residents in adjoining properties to have their quality and standard of living destroyed for the financial gain of a private developer.

Greencastle Area Residents Group would like to place on record its thanks to MP Margaret Ritchie, who organised the meeting on their behalf.

 

 


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GARG Meeting with Road Service – 1st April @ 2.00pm

Road service have agreed to meet with GARG on Tuesday 1st April at 2pm in relation to the proposed changes to Greencastle Pier Road as a result of the proposed Ferry Development.

The meeting is open to any resident in Greencastle – and should give people the opportunity to ask questions in relation to the proposed changes and to voice their option/concerns. If you cannot attend and you have any questions that you want asked to road service in relation to the development, the impact the road changes may have on your house, access from Fair Road etc please email them to diarmuidcahill@hotmail.com before 12 noon on Friday 28th March.

Meeting is due to take place at Development Site – Please meet at pier.

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Louth County Council passes planning for ferry development

Louth County Council at their meeting on Tuesday 25th February give planning premission on the Southern side for a New ferry terminal to be built to link Greenore and Greencastle.

The proposed works at Greenore include:
Construction of a reinforced concrete slipway (60m long) with 7vertical tubular berthing & fender piles on the southern side to facilitate ferry berthing; relocation of existing Port entrance gates & weighbridge; realignment of existing boundary fence to northern side of Port; modification of entrance road layout, part demolition of gable walls of existing shed to allow through access for vehicles, use of existing hard stand area for parking & queuing, new lighting columns, new pedestrian footpath along the existing rock armour & replacement of existing fence on SE boundary with pedestrian bollards.

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GARG submit objection to proposed ferry development in Greencastle

Having viewed the planning application (P/2013/0434/F) of a proposed construction of ferry terminal facilities adjacent to 80 Greencastle Pier Road, Greencastle Area Residents Group (GARG), have submitted the attached letter of objection.

Please click here to open a copy of the GARG Letter of Objection – Feb 2014 (Opens in PDF Format)

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GARG Chair calls for letters of Objections to be submitted

Diarmuid Cahill Chair of GARG has called for anyone who does not want the proposed development of a Concrete Pier and Ferry Development at the proposed current sistuited location in Greencastle to submit their letter of objection within the coming days.

People can send in their own or if you want a copy of a sample objection letters Please Click here (If using sample letter please add your address and Name) – just email the objection to:
craigavon.planning@doeni.gov.uk (make sure you quote Application reference: P/2013/0434/F)

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Repair work begins at Greencastle Pier Road

Last week Road service began fixing parts of the damaged Greencastle Pier Road by placing 30-40 meters of rock armour to help support the road and prevent further erosion.

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Council back ferry proposal

Taken from Mourne Observer

SUPPORT for a ferry scheme at Greencastle has been officially given by the local council.

But the news has not gone down well with residents. Since the idea of a Greencastle to Greenore ferry was first mooted, most people living in the hamlet have been vigorously opposed to it.

Newry and Mourne District Council’s planning committee gave its support to the scheme at a meeting last Thursday, following a vote of seven to three. The £6.5million project is being developed by a company called Carlingford Ferries, which claims 24 direct jobs will becreated by the service, followed by a further 300 knock-on jobs as a result.

However, fears are rife amongst the local residents that the impacton wildlife, tourismandtheenvironment, amongst otherthings, will be too great. The Greencastle Area Residents’ Group (GARG) wants the scheme to be scrapped. They also believe the road infrastructure is completely unsuitable for such a project.

A senior council official recommended the application was givenfull support as a “majortourism infrastructure” and cross-border scheme. Director of District Development,GerardcGivern,said during the meeting that it would be very difficult to lobby for further tourism in frastructure if the council objected to this scheme. The planning application proposes the construction of ferry terminal facilities adjacent to 80 Greencastle Pier Road, with a concrete suspended pier and concrete slipway. New access and hardstand for parking and queuing, and upgrading and widening of parts of the road and provision of passing bays is also proposed.

It is expected that if the scheme goes ahead, ferries will run across the 1.3-mile route every halfhour between 7am and 11pm. GARG is still hopeful that more objections will be lodged before the dead line for submissions passes.

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Disappointment from Residents with Councils support for Ferry

Chair of Greencastle Area Residents Group Diarmuid Cahill stated

“It is disappointing to learn that at last week’s Planning Development Committee meeting of Newry and Mourne District Council it was agreed to go against the wishes of the majority of residents in Greencastle and support the proposed development of a 138metre concrete ferry terminal and pier directly in front of the ruins of Greencastle Castle.  As pointed out to Council Officials and Councillors at a meeting held last June the location of the proposed concrete pier is particularly ill-considered and actually more contentious than previous proposed sites as its location is directly in front of the ruins of Greencastle Castle monument, and is entirely inappropriate and will contribute significantly to ribbon development of Greencastle”.

Within the Banbridge/ Newry and Mourne Area Plan 2015, Greencastle District Proposal Local Area Landscape Proposals states that “Those features and areas that contribute to the environmental quality, integrity or character of these areas (Greencastle) are listed as the following:

·          Ruins of Green Castle (scheduled monument) and Church ruins (scheduled monument), with associated views and setting including the physical and visual linkages between these historical ruins which provide historic and archaeological interest;

·          The Motte (scheduled monument) with associated views and setting provides historic and archaeological interest;

·          The undeveloped land in the foreground of the ruins, motte and settlement provides significant views of these features from Greencastle Pier Road and beyond.”
Cahill added that “This proposed development will have a detrimental impact on the environmental quality, integrity and character of the area and the important and sensitive built environment, in particular, the ruins of Greencastle Castle, Church ruins, views, and setting between them, and the undeveloped land in the foreground of the ruins.  The District Plans also state that “It will serve to consolidate the settlement and prevent ribboning of development along Greencastle Pier Road while preventing further intrusion of development into the countryside around the ruins of Green Castle monument.”  For this reason I am shocked that the Councillors at the planning Committee, the people responsible for upholding the policy could go against their own District Plans, plans that they only launched in March of last year.  The proposed location of the ferry terminal is directly in front of the ruins of Green Castle monument and as a result this development would grossly contravene this statement.”

GARG call upon our Councillors to call a public meeting as soon as possible and for them to explain this decision to the residents of Greencastle and the surrounding areas.

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‘The fears of the people of Greencastle of course need to be addressed’

TAKEN FROM DUNDALK DEMOCRAT

PRO of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, Paddy Malone, says a way forward needs to be found for a proposed vehicle ferry which could unlock the tourism potential of the region.

Last week plans for a vehicle ferry were once again put forward, which would see the development of ferry terminals at both Greencastle and Greenore.

A standoff is however forming between those who want the ferry and those who don’t.

Mr Malone however believes the ferry would create a ‘Ring of Kerry’ like atttraction in the area, and would work in tandem with the Narrowwater Bridge should it be built.

“I’m personally all in favour of a car ferry, whoever gets the go ahead to build it.

“The fears of the people of Greencastle of course need to be addressed, but a way forward for such an enterprise needs to be found.

“The last thing we want to do is wreck the natural beauty of the area by over commercialising it. The area is the product, and obviously it’s in no one’s interest to destroy it.

“Last year we were at the tourism expo and people from the Greencastle ara spoke to us about their very real concerns for what a ferry would do to the area. Many farmers in the area are afraid that ramblers will flood in the area.

“After speaking to them I think we allayed a lot of the fears that are there. “

Mr Malone visited the area last year and he says that talking about the issue is the only way forward. 
“We need to sit down and calmy and logically debate the issues.”

Mr Malone says that it will benefit the Mourne at least as much, if not more then it willthe Cooley area.

“You create a ring where you could drive across the Narrowater and return across the ferry. It would make the entire area a tourist destination in a simliar vein to the Ring of Kerry.”

Both the Narrowater and the ferry are not dependent on one of the other project failing and would work together to create a circular route – according to Mr Malone.

However there has been significant opposition to that plan from Greencastle Area Residents Group (GARG) who oppose plans for any ferry service between the two points. At a meeting of the GARG in October of 2011, a sounding was taken from those present regarding their views on the proposed ferry. The views expressed were resoundingly opposed to the ferry – with 90 per cent opposed the introduction of the ferry.

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Meeting re concerns regarding the coastal erosion at Greencastle

Some of the damage at CranfieldA meeting has been arranged for this Wednesday (15th Jan 2014) regarding the coastal damage carried out in the Greencastle/Cranfield Area after last week’s high tides and winds.

Greencastle Area Residents Group and a large number of individual Residents made contact with relevant bodies as well as elected councillors and MLA’s for the area highlighting that there had been damage to the embankment/sea defences on the Warrenpoint side of Greencastle Pier – on Greencastle Pier Road as well as along the whole shoreline from Greencastle to Cranfield and that there needs to be a short term and long term solution to the ongoing erosion problems particularly taking into account that we could be hit with more storms over the coming weeks.  Concern was also raised that as a result of the erosion, damage may have been caused to part of the foundations of Greencastle Pier Road.

A number of politicians have responded to our calls namely Councillors Sean Doran (Sinn Féin), William Burns (DUP) and Harold McKee (UUP) as well as MLA’s Karen McKevitt (SDLP) and John McCallister (NI21), all agreeing to liaise with relevant agencies including Newry and Mourne District Council, the Environment Agency and Road Service.

We would like to place on record our thanks to Council Officials within Newry and Mourne who cleared the road of debris last Monday and to the PSNI for their help in marking off unsafe areas.

Initial feedback is that the erosion problem at Greencastle may be an issue for Newry and Mourne District Council or however is identified as owning the land.  It has also come to light that the hard fill/reclaimed land along parts of Greencastle may have contributed to the damage caused last weekend.  By all accounts Council Officials within Newry and Mourne District Council knew about the issues surrounding the hard filled reclaimed areas since March 2012.

With the thanks of the above politicians a meeting has been arranged with the Mourne Councillors, residents of Greencastle and the DRD Roads Manager Cindy Noble for Wednesday morning at 10.30am at Greencastle Pier to discuss the issues and to see if a long term solution can be found.

Picture shows some of the damage at Cranfield

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Post storm update

Post storm update in Greencastle by Christine Gibson: After many calls (seems like no public organisation wants to take responsibility for Greencastle!), finally I managed to sort out the following… Police came out and put tape up where it is deemed unsafe. DOE has been here to assess damage and establish what needs to be done to construct a permanent solution to avoid further erosion (probably extension of wall already erected just before roundabout). Council sent road cleaners and now all the road is clear of debris.

Please do not park on the sea front between the pier and the roundabout, it is unsafe as seaweed is camouflaging the extent of the erosion.

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Department of Environment looks for 3D visualisations of proposed ferry development

It has come to light that the Department of Environment has requested the developers behind the proposed ferry service between Greencastle and Greenore to submit 3D visualisations of the proposed ferry terminal facilities and the proposed concrete suspended pier in Greencastle.

This is something the Greencastle Area Residents Group requested as far back as October 2012. The call for 3D visualisations was made again during a public meeting in February 2013. The developers refused to provide such drawings.

Greencastle Residents Group Secretary Denise Cunningham stated “Maybe now that the Department of the Environment have requested 3D visualisations and additional imagery, the residents group and the people of Greencastle will also be supplied copies.”

Cunningham added “The call for 3D imagery and models by the residents group was to allow people to see the visual impact that this proposed development – positive or negative, would have upon the setting of the historic landscape of Greencastle Castle and the impact on the wider Greencastle setting.”

The Department of Environment has requested the 3D visualisations so they can make an assessment on the potential impact the proposed development would have upon the archaeology and built heritage within the Greencastle area.

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Economic viability of proposed Ferry Development between Co Down and Co Louth called into question

Greencastle Co Down

High tides hit Greencastle Co Down – Jan 2014

At a time when a decision about the future of the Foyle Ferry service has been put on hold, there has been questions raised about viability and sustainability of the proposed Ferry Development between Greencastle Co Down and Greenore Co Louth.

Politicians from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland met the Foyle ferry company operators last Friday (3rd Jan 2014) to discuss the future of the 12-year-old service between Magilligan in County Derry and Greencastle in County Donegal because it is making unsustainable losses.

The SDLP’s East Derry MLA John Dallat said “We need to find a short-term solution to ensure the service resumes in the spring, but it is also imperative that ministers in Dail Eireann and the Northern Ireland Assembly recognise the need to jointly fund the future operation of the service to ensure its long-term viability”.

If the proposed Ferry development between Greencastle and Greenore goes ahead is this the future – Where the local councils and/or Government’s will have to subsidise a private development?

Greencastle Area Residents Chairperson Diarmuid Cahill stated “It is clear when you look at all the other Ferry services in the North that such services can only survive if they are heavily subsidised by the ratepayer.”

Currently the Strangford Ferry service which is run directly by the Department of Regional Development has been operating at a loss and receives financial support in the region of £2m annually. The Rathlin Ferry service requires a subsidy of approximately £600,000 per year.

Cahill added “The proposed cost of a single trip across Carlingford Lough is £10 to £12, similar to the current cost for using the Foyle Ferry Service, which as highlighted this week needs funding from the Government to ensure its long-term viability. With overheads for such services increasing substantially year on year – public liability, insurance, security, staff, energy, rent and rates, the only way to keep such developments afloat is either increase the cost per trip to the individual which results in less people using the service or obtain additional subsidies from the local council and/or government.”

The Foyle Ferry Service between Greencastle, Co Donegal and Magilligan Co Derry was set up in 2002 with European structural funds. In 2004 the Foyle ferry service was operating with a subvention of €156,000 from the local Councils. By December 2007, the subvention from the local councils had fallen to €75,123, forcing the operators to increase a single-journey fare from £5 to £10. That had an immediate negative impact and resulted in a drop in the number of cars carried from 90,866 in 2007 to 63,405 in 2008. In 2009 the subvention required to keep the ferry running was estimated to be €300,000. As a result of a lack of funds the service was reduced to summer months. In 2009 Limavady Borough Council supported the ferry with a grant of £133,000, while Donegal Council provided €200,000 subvention.

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High tides and storms hit Greencastle – 3rd Jan 2014

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