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Leitrim Observer article on Dowra

Posted by Colin Becker 
Leitrim Observer article on Dowra
10 January, 2008 10:22

The following extract from yesterdays Leitrim Observer might be of interest.

Best Wishes

Colin Becker
Project/Development Officer, IWAI
"IWAI - The Voice of the Waterways"

Leitrim Observer
Friday, 11th January, 2008 (on front page published Wednesday, 09th
January, 2008)

War of words breaks out over Lough Allen extension

A war of words has bro?ken out over Waterways Ireland's plans to extend the
navigable channel from Lough Allen to Annagh Upper with Green Party
representa?tive, Garreth McDaid, describing comments made by Cavan County
Councillor, John Paul Feely in relation to the development, as

The criticism comes as the planning appeal for the development, due to be
handed down by An Bord Pleanala earlier this week, was deferred to April 1
because of the volume of files faced by staff.

In July 2007, Leitrim County Council's plan?ning department granted
conditional permission for the development which calls for the extension of
the naviga?ble channel from Lough Allen, where it currently ends, to Annagh
Upper. In the lower reaches of the river the plans also call for dredging to
be carried out and in the reach immediately downstream of Annagh Upper, the
removal of bedrock to provide navi?gable depth for boat traf?fic. Plans for
the site also included the devel?opment of a weir, a 16 berth public marina
combining floating walk?ways and finger jetties and a carpark/amenity area
at the site. However a number of objections were raised by Action for
Thoughtful Use of Natural Resources, Cavan Leitrim Environmental Awareness
Network Ltd, The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government, An Taisce, Kevin Deering and Water World Europe and the decision
was appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

In a statement to the Leitrim Observer earlier this week, Mr McDaid claimed
Cllr Feely had referred to objections made by local people as 'small-minded'
and also alleged that the Cavan councillor suggested that political
influence was being applied in relation to the development. Mr McDaid said
that Mr Feely's comments were both 'unfair and inap?propriate'.

"The dredging of the proposed Natural Heritage Area at Dowra is a hugely
significant and invasive develop?ment, which is reflected by the fact that
the grant of planning permission has been appealed by the Department of the
Environment. To describe people's con?cerns about natural her?itage as
'small-minded' is both unfair and inap?propriate, particularly for, a public
representa?tive," he said in his statement.

"I am also concerned at Mr Feeley's sugges?tions that local politi?cians
are seeking to exert political influence in relation to the devel?opment. A
recent Prime Time Investigates programme highlighted the extent to which
political interference exists in our planning system, and the dire
consequences that have resulted. In light of this, I would call on Mr Feely
to clarify his com?ments without delay."

When contacted by the Leitrim Observer, Cllr Feely accepted he had referred
to some objec?tions as "small minded", however he completely refuted Mr
McDaid's sug?gestions regarding the exertion of political influ?ence by any
public repre?sentative. "He (Mr McDaid) is misinformed and he has completely
misinterpret?ed what I said. I did not state that any political
representative was applying any influence in relation to the development. I
completely refute that allegation," he said.

The Cavan councillor went on to state that he fully supported the pro?ject
and he was anxious?ly awaiting the determi?nation of An Bord Pleanala in
relation to the development.

"I am hoping that the result will be positive and I am disappointed that
matter has now been delayed until April but I hope it will be dealt with as
soon as possible," he said.

"This project has the potential to be of huge economic and social ben?efit
and if it does get the go-ahead I hope Waterways Ireland will push this
through as a priority or, alternatively, if the decision is nega?tive, I
hope that Waterways Ireland will move to reapply for plan?ning permission.
This is a crucial development if we are to bring the bene?fits of the
Shannon navigation to Dowra and the surrounding areas. Waterways Ireland
have carried out painstaking research into this development and they have
been very thorough into their study of the project and its impact on the
environment . I see no reason but to believe that the impact will be
negligible and the benefits to the community, both social and economically,
RE: Leitrim Observer article on Dowra
11 January, 2008 10:49

How far would this development ( if it goes ahead ) be from the village of
Dowra ??

Warm regards and happy new year

Re: Leitrim Observer article on Dowra
11 January, 2008 19:39
Hi Leslie, I think its maybe a km or so. Its not reallyDowra at all. It's
called Annagh Upper officially.

RE: Leitrim Observer article on Dowra
12 January, 2008 16:40
Thanks Colin

Obviously we in Carrick and north Shannon would like to see it extended in
second phase up to the village of Dowra

Keep us in the loop


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