MEMBERS of a campaign protesting the alleged privatisation of a beach in Donegal are today meeting with council officials in a bid to have the beach re-opened to the public.
Dublin-based construction firm, T&G Properties – managed by Tony Preston – started development work at Aughadahor beach, a special area of conservation, in 2007.
The company are developing a ‘175-acre (holiday resort) with private access to two exceptional beaches, which are ideal for a range of water sports and outdoor activities.’
According to Tony McCarry – chairman of the Save Aughadahor Beach campaign – access to the beach was restricted 10 weeks ago.
Members of the campaign have received legal advice on the matter and are hopeful Donegal County Council will order the removal of security gates from the beach at today’s 3.00pm meeting.
McCarry told News Anois of several instances of individuals being asked to leave the beach. He was personally told on 29th October he needed the permission of an engineer working on site to walk the beach. He said MICAD Security – a private security firm – are maintaining a presence at the beach, refusing access to locals.
Speaking to News Anois, Ivan Harvey of MICAD Security confirmed the company had been contracted by T&G Properties.
When asked whether agents employed by the company were maintaining a constant presence at the beach he declined to comment, saying he had experienced problems being misquoted in the past.
Asked whether agents employed by the company had either denied locals access to the beach, or had locals ejected from the beach he responded: ‘We haven’t stopped nobody from going nowhere.’
He said MICAD Security were employed to ‘protect the site’, and for ‘health and safety reasons’, and suggested News Anois contact Tony Preston for more details.
Donegal County Council confirmed receipt of a letter from MH Associates Architects and Surveyors on May 21st 2011. The letter refers to the development at Aughadahor beach and said: ‘Access to the facilities of the SAC lands will be controlled. Persons wishing to use/access these will be required to check through reception and obtain a day pass at a nominal charge.’
When asked by News Anois whether it could be inferred the council approved the attempted privatisation of the beach, considering the confirmed receipt of this letter, they said: ‘The documentation referred to in your email was received during the course of the consideration of a planning application relating to this development. It amounts to a statement on behalf of the owner of the lands and no other inference can be drawn from it.’
News Anois asked whether the council would comment on accounts of locals being denied access to the beach by a private security firm. The council responded that they are ‘not in a position to comment’ on this issue.
Tony Preston was unavailable for comment.