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Mournes plans raise concern

The long running argument over whether the Mournes  should be designated as a national park appears to be taking a distinctive town vs country slant. On Monday night a heated meeting between the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) and Environment Minister Alex Attwood was held in Cookstown to discuss the issue of national parks with the Mournes identified as a potential recipient of the designation. Farmers aired their concerns about increased restrictions put on their land should national park status come to the district. UFU president Harry Sinclair said there was nothing from the meeting to convince his members to change their position of opposing national parks. However these sentiments seem to be at the opposite end of the scale to some chambers of commerce. Indeed a letter dated June 21 sent from Newcastle Chamber of Commerce to Newry and Mourne District Council’s (NMDC) chief executive Thomas McCall call on the local authority to publically back the proposal. “Following recent announcements from Minister Attwood with regards to national parks, chamber of commerce in Kilkeel, Warrenpoint, Newcastle, Newry and Rathfriland came together and agreed to support the lobby for Mournes as a national park and requested that Down District Council and NMDC support this,” it read. However the report of Newry and Mournes August 1 economic development  meeting,  reaffirmed the council’s non-committal stance on the issue. “The council has a position on national parks and until this changes  the chamber should lobby on its own behalf as the decision on national parks is unlikely to stand of fall solely on the basis of one council’s position,” it read.


Newry Reporter

22nd August 2012