Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (147)

Catherine Martin


147. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the draft Phoenix Park visitor experience strategic review; if his attention has been drawn to the degree of public opposition to some of the changes proposed in the document; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53718/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Draft Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review is a non-statutory document, prepared by independent consultants, which examines the quality of visitor experience currently in the Phoenix Park and offers ideas on how the visitor experience can be enhanced in the future.It considers many aspects of how visitors of all kinds experience the Phoenix Park from wayfinding to environmental issues, linkages with the city to improving visitor facilities throughout the Park. The draft review received considerable attention from the public, media and elected representatives and the Commissioners of Public Works are appreciative of all those who engaged with the documentation and provided their valuable opinions and insights for consideration.

A high proportion of respondents held the view that the Park ought to be left untouched and that the essential character of the Park ought to be preserved. Such an opinion is consistent with the Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan 2011 which sets out the guiding principles for the long term conservation vision for the Park and any proposed future conservation projects or enhancements to facilities will only be advanced with reference to these. This is to ensure that the essential historic character of the Park is maintained for the future. Additionally, only such proposals that are consistent with existing management practices and seek to support existing policy in relation to the management and operations of the Park will be considered.

I am satisfied that the Commissioners have listened carefully to what the public, local communities and other stakeholders have had to say. Their submissions will influence and inform how best the existing facilities might be enhanced or improved in the Park in the future.

The Commissioners essentially seek to enhance the Phoenix Park’s potential as one of the great parks of the world by undertaking appropriate conservation works and upgrades to facilities, such as toilets for example, to support the Park’s attractiveness. Such enhancements will be to the benefit of all users, local, national and international, and will necessarily be subject to statutory planning permission and availability of adequate funding.