Residents explain ferry fears to MLAs

GREENCASTLE residents have met with local MLAs to discuss their fears about a proposed ferry plan.

The Greencastle Area Residents Group (GARG) is vehemently against the idea of a ferry, which would run from the hamlet and across Carlingford Lough to Greenore.

GARG chairperson, Diarmuid Cahill, said: “The developers have known since the very beginning that the lack of adequate road infrastructure was by far the biggest concern for residents.

“However, the plans for road ‘upgrades’ were only made available to residents days before the official planning application was submitted, and on plans printed so small they were barely legible”.

Residents in attendance also noted that there had been no independent survey undertaken and that the Planning Office only referred to surveys carried out by the applicants themselves.

In a statement from GARG, a spokesperson said: “NI21′s John McCallister stated his agreement with residents that a massive infrastructure investment would be needed to facilitate the project both in the immediate Greencastle area and surrounding routes towards the A2, in both easterly and westerly directions.”

Residents are calling for substantial roads upgrades to ensure the safety of residents and visitors alike if the project is approved.

The statement added that Jim Wells MLA cautioned that the economic failure of this project would necessitate the government stepping in to rescue it.

“Mr Wells also recognised what he described as the ‘charm and uniqueness’ of the area.”

It was also noted that Greencastle tourists came by horse, car, bicycle and on foot, and residents say it is difficult to accept the rationale for increasing traffic to this extent for the sake of tourism.

The statement added: “Sean Rogers MLA advised those attending the meeting that the decision-making process is currently with the Divisional Roads Manager of Roads Service, however all three MLAs confirmed the final decision would be made by the Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan.”

It is the intention of the group to host meetings between residents and MLAs Caitriona Ruane and Karen McKevitt in the near future to increase awareness and build support for their anti-ferry stance.

The GARG would like to thank Grange Primary School for providing the venue for the meeting.

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