Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn has stated that the current controversy over public access to Fanad’s Great Arch or the Pollet Arch is just the latest in a series of areas of natural beauty which have become restricted to the people of Donegal and tourists.
He was speaking after attending a protest last Saturday at the Pollet Arch in solidarity with the local community in Fanad who are incensed at the decision of private interests to block public access to the arch.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said: “This controversy at the Pollet Arch is just the latest worrying episode of the people of Donegal and our visitors being denied access to our beaches and natural amenities. That list includes Drumnacraig beach, Fanad’s Seven Arches, Aughadahor beach near Carrigart and now Fanad’s Great Arch or the Pollet Arch.
“Our beaches and natural amenities must belong to our people. Both for the people living in the communities adjacent to these amenities and visitors alike to enjoy.
“If we are serious about developing the tourism offering of Donegal to its maximum potential, then we cannot deny access to such an important amenity as the Pollet Arch. This is a magnificent natural amenity. It is a wonder to get up close to it. It must be accessible to the people of Fanad and their visitors. That is why I stood with the local community last Saturday”.
“I have made representations to Donegal County Council and I understand that they are seeking to mediate a solution that will facilitate public access to the arch.
“However, from here on, Donegal County Council and other State agencies must remain vigilant. They must protect the public interest. The public interest or greater good must always take precedence over private interests.
“The success of the greenway movement across Ireland has proven that good communications, assurances around public liability and investment can often resolve issues of public access to amenities.
“But there are situations such as access to our beaches and natural amenities where the public interest must be protected by what ever means available to local authorities and State agencies”.Tags: