An online petition campaign has commenced to “Keep Lough Key Forest Park in Public Ownership”.
The organiser of the petition, Ian Hester, said that he set up the petition to “keep private – foreign investors out of Lough Key Forest Park”.
According to Mr Hester” It (the park) ) belongs to the Irish people. We need also to place emphasis on the conservation status as an educational theme which is being undermined by present interests. It is a publicly owned high amenity that must be left in situ.”
“We’re really worried that plans are afoot to sell it (Lough Key Forest Park) off, similar to what happened at Newcastle Forest where publicly owned land of which we the Irish people are the stakeholders of was sold off to a foreign private company for profit.”
When contacted by Boyletoday.com, Mr Hester said he had set up the petition for and on behalf of “Uisce Domhan Water World Europe Ltd” of which Mr Hester is a director.
He also stated that “it can be perceived that our parks are reverting back to their former glory days of the absent landlord gentry.”
“We should strive to have Lough Key Forest Park designated a National Park and a World Heritage Site approved by UNESCO” Mr Hester concluded.
You can view the petition here
Ian Hester is known to many in Boyle from 2005 when he lodged a submission with Roscommon Co Co on plans by Newfound Consortium for permission for 300 holiday cottages, a 100-bedroom hotel and leisure centre and an 18-hole golf course in and around Lough Key Forest Park.
Mr Hester’s submission referred to his concerns about the Lesser Horseshoe Bats which it was claimed inhabited the site.
The permission to grant planning was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanala by a number of parties.
The planning board did not give the go ahead for the development to proceed based on a number of concerns.