ESB must present Gearagh management plan - Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has written to the ESB requesting an urgent meeting to discuss a management plan for the Gearagh.
The Ireland South MEP has been a long time advocate of the Gearagh, which is a special area of conservation near Macroom in County Cork.
"The Gearagh is a tremendously important ecological area, a stunning public amenity and an area of immense importance for research and study; everyone in our community has a duty to maintain and protect it," she said.
"As the major landowner in the area the ESB has a special, not to mention legal, obligation to put a comprehensive management plan in place for this unique nature reserve.
"I have engaged with local community groups, businesses, landowners and amenity users in the area to gauge opinion on how best to develop the area. Just last November I hosted a public meeting to give the people of the area a place to air their views on the site and the overwhelming consensus has always been that the area must be conserved and its potential for scientific research, education and eco-tourism developed in a way that supports conservation objectives.
"The ESB has been slow to begin drafting a management plan and even then only began the process after significant pressure from myself and local campaigners.
"They have thus far failed to engage with local stakeholders or the wider community and this is causing great concern among the many people who wish to see the area protected.
"I have requested an urgent meeting to discuss the delays in publishing the management plan, the failure to engage with the community and to present the feedback I have received from my various engagements on the issue to the ESB.
"The Gearagh is a unique ecological treasure, it must be preserved and protected and the best way to do that is in partnership with the local community."