Lecale Councillor Cadogan Enright (right) at Minerstown inspecting ruined plover nests 

Lecale Councillor Cadogan Enright has welcomed a successful conclusion of an 18 months campaign to alter the Law under which Down District Council operates, to allow local people to protect the seal colony and shore-nesting birds in the Minerstown and Rossglass area.

“Great credit needs to go to local people, the Lecale Conservation group and in particular Alison White the council’s legal officer who persisted in the face of multiple bureaucratic obstacles to deliver this result. It is clear that council management have realized the benefit of preserving the fauna of the District and it potential for Sustainable Tourism, even aside from its legal obligations,” said Cllr Enright

Residents along Minerstown Beach have expressed delight at the news that Down District Council is has succeeded in persuading Minister Poots to alter the councils “vires” and allow beach bye-laws to protect local wildlife in the area during the breeding season.

Jonathan Bradshaw whose house overlooks the beach said “The beach-nesting birds have been wiped out on a number of occasions by a small number of people on Quads during the nesting season repeatedly running over the nesting area. We have 70 miles of coastline, but this 400 meter stretch of Beach is really one of our few wildlife gems in Down District.”

Councillor Cadogan Enright said “Lecale Conservation deserve great credit for monitoring progress throughout and they even arranged a meeting with the Environment Minister in Belfast to move things forward with the civil service who had been holding Down District Council up on this issue.

Cllr Enright said “A leading scientist has told us that during the last breeding season a majority of the seal pups rescued in NI were from the area between Rossglass and Ballykinler. The council will be able to move to consultation over its proposals from the 4th February thanks to this legal change.”

“Hopefully we will no longer have to watch a small number of people on jet-skis disturb new-born seal pups and not be able to do anything about it. The seal colony is much beloved by local people who have found the deaths of so many seals deeply upsetting.”

“I have a large number of photographs of seal pups killed by human interference on my web-site at http://enright.ie/press-releases/minerstown-beach-by-laws-slideshow. Some were so gruesome that I have decided not to publish them – but have them in the office for purposes of legitimate inquiry”, Concluded Councillor Enright.