Irish Lights must not break pledge to community
Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MLA has responded angrily to speculation that the Commissioners for Irish Lights will begin work on the historic St John’s Point Lighthouse on Easter Monday despite recently agreeing at a public meeting to take stock of the issues and explore alternatives to removing the famous sweeping beam.
The local MLA said:
“If it is true that work will begin tomorrow at St John’s Point to remove the world-famous sweeping beam then the Commissioners will have blatantly deceived the local community here in Lecale. Just a few weeks ago they came face to face with widespread opposition to their controversial plans and agreed to explore some engineering solutions to the Lighthouse that would ultimately save the sweeping beam.
“The local community have made it absolutely clear to Irish Lights that the sweeping beam is a quintessential feature of the Down coastline - it should undoubtedly be preserved as a living, working symbol of our proud maritime heritage.”
Mr Hazzard added:
“In the days following the public meeting I made contact with Paschal O’Donoghue TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport in Dublin, who has direct oversight of Irish Lights, requesting a meeting to outline the level of local opposition to these plans. Given that this meeting has not taken place as of yet, I have again made contact with his office today requesting that he instructs Irish Lights not to begin any work until the local community have been assured that their concerns have been taken on board.”