Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Larkin has questioned the commitment of the Forestry Service in its endeavours to engage with the local community about its future plans for Slieve Gullion, and has called on the Service to pro-actively engage with the community.
The Sinn Féin representative stated, “Following a number of phone calls from residents in the Meigh area on Tuesday last relating to a notice tied to the entrance gates of the forest drive, I feel that I have to question the genuine commitment of the Service to communicate with the very people that the plans will impact on.
“The notice tied to the gate informed the local community that an information day was being held in the car-park of Slieve Gullion Courtyard on that day. The viewing of maps, plans and the sharing of information was promised, however one local who ventured forth has told me that none of this was delivered.
“They have also revealed that the note tied to the gate was their first indication of the event.
“The Forestry Service’s own website states that engaging with locals has proven difficult in the past and that to rectify this a number of initiatives will be undertaken including direct contact being made with those living close to the forests.
“Those who have contacted myself have had no correspondence from the Service, have seen no public notices in the local papers, had no callers or leaflets about the event and were left furious at the lack of presentation on the day.”
The local Councillor added, “Agencies such as the Forestry must realise that they have a legal obligation to inform and update residents and communities on issues which impact on them. I will be contacting the Forestry Service to insist on another information day being held with invites extended to all stakeholders in the area.”