The State is failing spectacularly in its duty to protect the unique amenity that is Curragh Plains.
Here is a chronology of that failure, as I have witnessed it, since entering Kildare County Council in 2014.
But first, thank you to those fellow Cllrs who; supported my motion at last weeks Municipal District meeting that the Council invite The Curragh Forum to meet with MD Cllrs; called out the Forum for failing to meet even once in 2017 in order to address ANY of the issues of littering, illegal encampments, over-grazing and the destruction of this truly unique amenity on our doorstep
Jan 25th 2015
Following lengthy discussions with the then Min for both Defence and Agriculture-Simon Coveney – he agrees to progress the chronic issues on the Curragh Plains with Secretaries General of both his Departments. He promises to achieve progress by December 2015. It was agreed I would announce the Minister’s agreement at an upcoming Council meeting and to the media see https://www.facebook.com/FionaMcloughlinHealy/posts/938111839534813
Shortly after announcing the outcome of my discussions with the Minister and his agreement to get both Departments working on an issue which typically had fallen in the gaps between the two stools depts – I found it difficult to contact the Minister (either at his office or on his mobile which he had been happy to take previously)
I continue to work with local residents and advocates for the Curragh Plains to keep a focus on the ongoing issues on the Curragh Plains with a video showing the destruction and littering of the Plains see https://www.facebook.com/FionaMcloughlinHealy/videos/969786363034027/
Local TD announces his plans for a Consultation Forum to address the ongoing destruction of the Curragh Plains. See http://www.martinheydon.com/…/minister-told-consultative-f…/
Journalist Barry White helps us highlight all of the ongoing issues but also the potential of the Curragh Plains in a detailed article in the Sunday Business Post . The article provides information about a Tourism Trail App for the Curragh Plains that myself, and local resident and Curragh Plains advocate Mark Weld have been working on with the Heritage Officer in Kildare County Council see https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1625050991101009&id=100007883718408
The TD announces that The Minister has agreed to accept his proposal that The Curragh Forum be set up to address the chronic issues on the Curragh Plains. Although public assurances had been given by me as agreed by the Minister in January, his subsequent decision to default on that agreement was not communicated to me. I had serious reservations that a talking shop was being set up to dilute what could have been achieved through the Secretaries General of both Depts being directed by the Minister to make progress in a defined period of time. See the announcement of The Curragh Forum
6 months later the TD announces The Curragh Forum has had its first meeting and deems it a success. See http://www.martinheydon.com/…/04/curragh-forum-up-and-runn…/
I write to the TD asking for an update on The Curragh Forum. He sends me back a letter with an update from then Minister for Defence, Paul Keogh in which the Minister states
‘ it is expected that during 2017 substantial progress will be made in a number of areas including updating and enforcement of Bye Laws, development of an educational programme and development of Curragh Facilities’ ( letter is attached below – note zero meetings went ahead in 2017! 😒)
A full year later following continued complaints re littering and damage done by vehicles to the Curragh Plains I successfully propose that an invite be extended from the Council to The Curragh Forum to meet with the MD Cllrs
I ask for a update from the Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District Manager who is Kildare County Council’s representative on The Curragh Forum on the Forum’s response to our invite to meet. The MD manager asks that we wait until The Forum meets in November to get a more current update. The Forum also includes representatives from, Department of Defence, Curragh Race-course, Curragh Racehorse trainers, Gardai and the military. See http://fmcloughlinhealy.ie/update-response-curragh-forum-u…/
Having had no response or update from the Curragh Forum for the December Council meeting – I submitted yet another motion asking for an update regarding The Forum. see http://fmcloughlinhealy.ie/update-response-curragh-forum-u…/
It was finally revealed during the discussion of the motion that the Curragh Forum did not meet ONE TIME during 2017!! As I stated at the meeting, what has happened or not happened with The Curragh Plains is an example of the worst type of politicking around what is an important and urgent issue. While I acknowledge the complaints of my fellow Cllrs who called out the Forum as a talking shop designed to prevent rather than deliver progress on the Curragh Plains, I place the fault firmly at the foot of the public representatives who set it up. It seems there is no formal structure, no Chairperson, no work schedule for The Curragh Forum. No matter how proactive or invested the representatives – this talking shop was designed to fail.
It has been incredibly difficult to make progress on protecting this unique resource we have at our doorsteps. But it is worth being vigilant about promises made and not delivered when they have such significant environmental, social and economic consequences for our community.
I will keep asking for engagement with the Curragh Forum until progress has been made. I welcome any support you can give me to focus attention on the Curragh Plains. If you feel strongly like I do please email your concerns and/or any solutions you might have to the Council’s representative on the Forum firstname.lastname@example.org