With Carlingford Ferries Limited due to submit planning for the development of a Ferry service between Greencastle, Co Down and Greenore, Co Louth in the coming weeks, the Chairperson of the Greencastle Area Residents Group has questioned the impact such a development will have on the wider Greencastle Area and on its unspoilt coastline.
Chairperson Diarmuid Cahill stated that “It is important that the undeveloped coastal environment is protected – in particular from increasing urbanisation, industry, pollution and recreational demand.
The coastline along Greencastle on the northern side of Carlingford Louth is relatively unspoilt, with a wide variety of landscapes, which are of high scenic quality. It is of immense importance in terms of its scientific interest, nature conservation value and its wildlife habitats. The relationship between tourism and the environment must be managed so that tourism continues to support local communities and remains viable in the long term. In appropriate developments such building of Ferry Terminals will damage and destroy the assets within the wider Greencastle Area”.
Greencastle is a place of rare beauty and charm, with a rich and unique natural heritage which can be witnessed in the ruins of its medieval fortifications, listed buildings and historical structures. Within the area you have a 1230s Hugh de Lacy Castle, an Anglo Norman Motte, the ruins of a medieval church, former lighthouse keepers’ dwellings built in the 1850s as well as a listed wooden pier dating back to 1880.
Cahill states “According to old tales of the Carlingford Lough Area, Greencastle was once the capital of the Mourne Kingdom, while its fairs were the most famous in Ulster. All that remains now are the historical ruins. With the recent introduction of the Mourne Costal Route and the various scenic roots that have been sign posted you would think the people behind tourism would have considered Greencastle and Cranfield significant enough to be included. It is apparent that the powers that be do not view Greencastle as a tourism attraction.”
Cahill went on to state “As outlined within the Strategic Objectives of the NI Planning policy for Rural Areas it is important to protect and enhance the natural and man-made environment, to meet the future development needs of the rural community and to facilitate the regeneration of the rural economy while maintaining the character of the countryside. It is important to have a healthy rural economy, with developments, that are supported by the local community. The majority of the community in Greencastle and the surrounding areas are against this proposed development as they feel that such a development will have a negative impact on our environment, a negative impact on our coastline, it will also impact on the many tourism assets within the Greencastle area. Residents also have major concerns in relation to the projected traffic volumes and the inadequate road network within the Greencastle and Kilkeel areas.”
The proposed Ferry Terminal Development in Greencastle would measure 154 meters, which is twice the size of the existing wooden pier, with the service expected to run from 7am until 8.30pm during peak months, with approximately 1000 vehicles per day.