Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (967)

Róisín Shortall


967. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she is still considering the purchase of an estate (details supplied); if so, the stage at which discussions are at; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31007/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The position of my Department with regard to estate referenced in details supplied remains unchanged. As has been stated in my previous responses, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has no direct role in the sale process of the estate in question as it is a commercial matter between the owners of the property and any parties interested in the purchase. 

While the estate in question would be a significant addition to the Department’s stock of publicly owned heritage lands, acquisition of this property could only be considered if the price fell to within a certain range, or in the context of a donation or bequest.  This is known to the vendors.

It should be noted that in late 2016 the Department negotiated the extension of the Wicklow Mountains National Park by purchasing almost 4,900 acres of Dublin Uplands at Glenasmole at a cost of €800,000. The purchase underpins the Government’s on-going commitment to the preservation of our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and visitors alike to enjoy.

I am aware that concerns have been raised regarding the use of the area by hillwalkers, climbers and the public in general. It should be noted that this Department has no statutory function regarding the provision of access to private lands. However, the Estate has allowed a permissive access to its hugely popular walking route for many decades and the Department hopes that this would continue under any new ownership arrangements and the Department has conveyed this desire directly to the vendors and their agent.

Furthermore, the Estate has been an excellent neighbour to the National Park, working closely with it on habitat management and the promotion of our stunning Wicklow Mountains for tourism, film making and amenity. It is my wish that this close co-operation would continue too in future.