News 2018 

Title:  State should purchase Luggala
Date:  16/08/2018

State should purchase Luggala

Mountaineering Ireland members urged to write to Minister and TDs

Mountaineering Ireland has called on Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, to re-engage with the Guinness family trust that owns Luggala Estate with a view to the State purchasing Luggala’s mountain lands as part of Wicklow Mountains National Park.

New ‘private property’ signs have recently been erected at Luggala. This development, and the death in March 2018 of Garech Browne, the guardian of Luggala, signal a possible change to the long tradition of public access maintained by Garech, and previously by his mother, to this cherished mountain landscape. The Luggala Estate has been on the market since January 2017 and there have been viewings of the property over the last month.

Mountaineering Ireland is in contact with Minister Madigan’s office and hopes to meet with the Minister shortly to discuss the future of Luggala. The National Parks & Wildlife Service has recommended the purchase of 4,000 acres of the estate (excluding Luggala Lodge and its surroundings). This is an approach which Mountaineering Ireland is supportive of as the cliffs, the Cloghoge river valley and the mountain lands of Luggala and Knocknacloghoge are our main interests, and these should have a much lower market value than the entire estate. Mountaineering Ireland has also sought the support of other relevant ministers and local TDs in this matter.

Mountaineering Ireland recognises that purchase by the State cannot be the solution to every situation where recreational access is under threat, and the organisation is currently actively encouraging discussion in both parts of the island in relation to access. In that context Mountaineering Ireland welcomed comments from the Irish Times this week urging a balanced, national conversation about public access, and highlighting the need to invest in the management of our upland areas. This is fully coherent with the access objective in Mountaineering Ireland’s recently launched strategic plan:

  • To strive for improved and assured access for responsible hillwalkers and climbers

and our vision:

  • That Ireland’s mountain landscapes will be valued and protected as environmental, cultural and recreational assets.

As the Luggala Estate is such an iconic landscape, surrounded on three sides by Wicklow Mountains National Park, it is Mountaineering Ireland’s position that the Government should seize the opportunity presented by the current sale to secure this unique property in State ownership for the benefit of current and future generations.

Mountaineering Ireland encourages members who are concerned about future access to Luggala to consider writing to the Minister, or to their local TDs, in support of Mountaineering Ireland’s position.

Irish Times article Friday 10th August 2018

Irish Times editorial Saturday 11th August 2018

Letter from Mountaineering Ireland to Minister Josepha Madigan TD, 25th July 2018

Mountaineering Ireland statement on Luggala, February 2017

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