Destruction of Carndonagh's 'Dark Hedges'

Community organising to 'protect the living and shared heritage of Carndonagh'

Destruction of Carndonagh's 'Dark Hedges'

Community organising to 'protect the living and shared heritage of Carndonagh'

There is “very deep concern” in Carndonagh regarding what one member of the community described as the “planned destruction of a local amenity and public pathway” known as the Ródán'.

Local woman, Sinéad Smyth, told Donegal Live she had brought the matter to the attention of all of Inishowen's Donegal County Councillors and Oireachtas members, Minister Charlie McConalogue and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.

Ms Smyth asked the elected representatives to support a grassroots community action in the cessation of planned destruction of a local amenity and public pathway.

She said: “This historic heritage site has had mature native hedgerows ripped out and the access blocked without permission from any public body or planning permission to develop a cross path over this local heritage site. This public right of way has been on the map since the 1800's and is a unique local heritage site still heavily used today by the local community.

“As you can clearly see on the attached photo 'Planning application and permissions' the site perimeters end at the north-west boundary of the noted 'Public pathway' in fact, this ancient public right of way has been ripped into and the adjoining field has been connected to the site where planning is granted.

“There is no planning permission to open an entrance to the public road at Circular Road as seen in photos taken today of the site numbered 1-3 in attachments. This is a dangerous bend as the illegal obstruction of the public right of way known as 'The Ródán' or 'Lovers Lane', has caused the public to walk along a narrow road with a blind bend, across an illegal construction entrance which holds no planning permission, putting the public at risk/threat.

“Firstly, this right of way and 'public pathway' as outline on the planning application and accepted by the Donegal County Council as an official document, needs immediately reopened, native hedge planting must be replaced and this site preserved as it should be. All access to the development site by way of Circular Road needs to cease to restore safety to public users,” said Ms Smyth.

Sinéad Smyth added this is a time where 'connection' has become so important.

She added: “We have all reflected on the effects of this pandemic on our families and communities. We must stand to oppose the wilful damage to our local folk and history heritage sites and preserve these for the future. The protection of this 'Ródán' should not be a political matter. It is one of necessary action to protect the living and shared heritage of our community.”

Cllr Bernard McGuinness confirmed the matter had been referred onto the Planning and Roads Departments of Donegal County Council.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Councillor Albert Doherty said he aware that the Enforcement Section of Donegal County Council visited the site last Friday (November 13) and a report on the matter is due.

Cllr Doherty added: “There is very, very deep concern in Carndonagh about the dangers as a result of the works to pedestrians from Inishoneil, from Magheramore, from Churchtown, for all of those who would traditionally have used the Ródán, as we called it, which was a safe and a secure, short way to the schools and the town.

“The preservation of this jewel and I called it Carndonagh's Dark Hedges, must be preserved and the damage that's done so far, I hope that there is a stop and nothing further occurs and there can be a commitment to restore what has now been taken away,” said Cllr Doherty.

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