Residents in Ramelton have reacted angrily to the construction of a council hoarding on the Quay.
An open-air protest meeting is due to take place at the location on Monday evening to address the issue.
All members of local community groups, the public and election candidates are invited to attend.
This week’s decision by Donegal County to put a large hoarding in front of a derelict structure on the Quayside has been described by Cllr. Ian McGarvey as a gratuitous insult to the community battling to protect the town’s Georgian heritage and promote tourism.
The reaction to the protective hoarding ranges from unbelievably stupid to outright anger and from dismay to the destruction of the town’s heritage landscape.
Anthony McCahill who has done much work to promote the town through the Christmas Lights Project and is heading up preparation for the town’s 50th Lennon Festival reacted with shock when he discovered workmen putting the new structure in place on Tuesday morning.
He said if that is all Donegal County Council can come up with for Ramelton then they should be advised by all the public representatives and candidates in the local elections to stay to hell out of the place.
He said: “This town has a huge history and we are doing our best to promote Ramelton as a tourist destination. The Quay is one of Donegal’s most pictured locations and it is a big tourist attraction… but not any more.
“If any of the townspeople tried to put that kind of hoarding on their property, regardless of how dangerous it might look, the Council would have a notice served immediately to have it removed.
“This is making a complete farce out of Ramelton’s historic landscape and we simply must put on the pressure to have some less intrusive protection put in place.
It must be 25 years ago since the Tribune wrote a story saying “Ramelton is the town the Council forgot” and that was true then and even more so now.
“Unfortunately the Council discovered Ramelton again on Tuesday and the image of this huge hoarding they put in place on the Quay is a total disgrace and we must push to have that removed before the summer,” said Mr. McCahill.
He told the Tribune that nobody in the Council seems to have any appreciation whatever of the history value of Ramelton and its part of Ireland’s heritage legacy.
Cllr. McGarvey said he was shocked at how this unsightly piece of work has impacted on one of Donegal’s most picturesque locations.
‘Some of the structure on the Quay is in a state of dereliction for these past fifty years but this action by the Council has made the visual impact much worse. It would seem to me that the Council totally ignored the damage inflicted by this structure to this picturesque landscape” he said.
The hoarding has been roundly condemned as a shameful eyesore and an insult to the people of Ramelton by community groups and those involved in the Tidy Towns campaign and the Lennon Festival as it celebrates its Golden Jubilee.
One spokesperson said he now believes that all other derelict sites in Ramelton may also have white safety hoardings put in place to protect the public.
Since midweek, Cllr. McGarvey has been in contact with Council officials with responsibility for derelict buildings and public safety to establish what other avenues were explored to find a less intrusive way of ensuring that the structure concerned could not have been fully secured from public access.
He said that since being elected to the Council in 2004 he’d put down so many motions at meetings of Donegal County Council in an attempt to get the huge issue of dereliction of buildings in Ramelton dealt with.
“My concerns have fallen on deaf ears and when I now look at the visual disaster the Council has created on the Quay, it makes me very angry.
“I accept the town’s derelict building need to be repaired. The owners of these properties must come forward and take responsibility for these properties or else the Council must invoke legislation to have these building secured for future generations. by their owners or else by the Council.
“I’ve been told by the Council they’ve not been able to identify the ‘registered owner’ of the derelict structure involved in this controversy. Therefore I’m asking whoever claims to own it, to come along and take responsibility for its protection and restoration. I am asking the owners of all these derelict structures dotted around the town to do likewise: these properties are on the Back Lane, the Market Cross, opposite the Town Hall and on the Mall, amongst other locations.
“It would be a real boost to Ramelton to see these buildings restored and put to use. I recognise that the Council has a responsibility for public protection around derelict buildings but hoardings of the kind now on the Quay is a huge step backwards.
“I am very disappointed at the manner in which the Council has treated the Ramelton community down the years and this has to be the last straw. It is a huge insult to the efforts of community project that are striving hard to promote Ramelton.
“I am calling on the community and all the groups in the town to come together and unite in opposing these unsightly hoardings making the news for all the wrong reasons. The Council must work to find a solution that promotes Ramelton and this is definitely the wrong way to go about it,’ said Cllr. McGarvey.Tags: