DOWN Councillor Cadogan Enright has welcomed the announcement at Tyrella Beach last Wednesday of a climb-down by the Department of the Environment on their proposed de-designation of the area between St.Johns Point and Dundrum Bay as “areas of outstanding natural beauty” (AONB’s). Cadogan initiated the campaign to save the AONB a year ago and has been assisting local people in fighting the loss of the AONB status for the last 10 months.
Cadogan Enright said, “I have been overwhelmed with complaints from people living in Killough and Dundrum who were outraged at the proposal and its serious anomalies. In particular the revocation of AONB status for Tyrella’s blue flag beach, Miners town’s wildlife beach, and the Ballykinlar Dundrum bay area stand out as utterly astonishing. It was completely ironic that the car park at ASDA and McDonalds take-away in Downpatrick were proposed to be newly designated an AONB. This made no sense and left many local people perplexed”.
Cllr Enright said “The iconic view from St. John’s point back towards Newcastle and the Mournes ranks with the Giants causeway as the gems of the environment and a tourism magnet in NI. Withdrawing AONB status for this area would have damaged our growing tourist industry, one of the few sustainable industries in the area that we have direct control over. The Local Lecale Conservation Society even organized a protest be 30 local artists to paint the areas affected and put on an Art exhibition in Downpatrick Library.”
Cadogan Enright said that “During the year long campaign on this issue, local people have pointed out that Down District Council are introducing byelaws to manage the coast in the Minerstown area to protect wildlife. This area and it has been identified by them as an area suitable for the promotion of “green” tourism. The District Policing Partnership have also moved the boundaries of the PSNI’s areas of operation to enable them to police the byelaws introduced at Minerstown. It makes no sense that this are be excluded”.
Downpatrick Cllr Cadogan Enright concluded “As a public representative for the Lecale coast I am sure that I speak for an overwhelming majority of local people on this issue. The huge amount of work conducted by Down District Council in Dundrum Bay with the development of Minerstown as a centre for Green Tourism and the work down the years to get blue flag beach at Tyrella has created magnets of sustainable tourism development in South Down. To leave this area out of the designation would have been economic and environmental vandalism on the part of the Department of the Environment.”