The Curragh Plains / PHOTO: Aishling Conway
A long-awaited public consultation on the future of the Curragh Plains will get underway next Monday.
The process will seek views on the best way to preserve and manage the historic plains, which are a valued leisure amenity to Kildare people. The 5,000 acre Curragh is also home to the Defence Forces Training Centre and the Curragh Racecourse.
The protection and preservation of the Curragh has a matter of concern to local politicians - both councillors and TDs - in recent years, who have been pushing for the consultation and a subsequent conservation management plan to get underway.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney announced the consultation launch this afternoon. The Minster stated that he was fully appreciative of the complexity involved in managing this landscape, not just in terms of its environmental and archaeological significance, but also its ongoing and historical association with the Defence Forces, the Horse Racing Industry and the local farming community.
Kildare County Council and the Department of Defence are jointly developing a conservation management plan and what they call an 'interpretation/branding strategy' for the plains. They have employed Paul Hogarth Consultants to lead the team working on the project. The consultation exercise to seek the views of members of the public on the future of the Curragh is the first step in this exercise.
Minister Coveney, in a statement this afternoon, acknowledged that the Curragh Plains is a matter of great pride to the people of Kildare, and said “the successful delivery of a future conservation and management plan for the plains will be largely dependent on active participation by those stakeholders with an interest in the Curragh plains.”
The consultation process will go live on Monday, March 15 and can be accessed on www.curraghplains.ie.