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Thursday 1st April 2010

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Fethard in new controversy
Fethard North GateFethard's North Gate in danger

The story and rumours that have been going the rounds have become official and planning permission has been lodged. It is your right as a citizen to object if that is how you feel.

The basic issue is that the Dubai Foreign Heritage Acquisition Department have now lodged their application to purchase the North Gate on Rocklow Road and replace it to the exact measurement as they have found it, but the stone that they intend to use will be a modern man made stone. They have proposed to purchase the gate for a fee of one hundred thousand which will be given to the Council and they will also give fifty thousand to local organisations in the town as a form of compensation for the inconvenience for having Rocklow Road closed for one week.

Mr Saad al-Mutalabi, spokesperson for the department in Dubai explained the position,“Because of the economic downturn we can no longer afford to buy a round tower or a Christian high cross from your country as good examples of Irish architecture to place in our World Heritage Park — the largest park in the world devoted to monuments and buildings of historical interest.
On a recent visit to your town and stud farm, we were surprised to see the beautiful small medieval European gate and decided it would be ideal for our Heritage Park.”


He went on to explain that in the dismantling of the gate, not alone will each stone be numbered and preserved, but a computerised image will be digitally recorded so as to ensure a hundred per cent accuracy when the gate is being erected in the World Heritage Park in Dubai which is expected to be opened in 2012. The new stones needed for the replica will be rendered and manufactured to the nearest millimetre and the average layperson will not be able to tell the difference or indeed notice any great change after a year or two when the new gate has been weathered in. He denied further rumours that any other part of the town wall was of interest to him.

More information will probably emerge in the coming weeks but there is no doubt but that opinion is divided in the town. It has also emerged that the Fethard Historical Society is split down the middle between those who favour the purchase and those who are against. A spokesperson for the society, who declined to be named for the time being, suggested that some members felt if it was sold, at least, the gate would be preserved and that vehicles would not be bashing against it and furthermore that it was a great honour for the town that a monument from here would be in this heritage park and that this would help to bring world wide attention to this area.

Meanwhile, others in the society thought that having a replica of the gate in the town would not be authentic and would, as a consequence, take from the reputation of the town as having a genuine historical medieval footprint. It may not then be possible in the future to refer to Fethard as being the most important small medieval town in the country.

The Community Council issued a press statement saying, a meeting will take place in the not too distant future for a committee to be formed and to give ordinary citizens a chance to have their voices heard about this proposal. This is your town and you have a right to have your say.

No local politician could be contacted for a comment but their offices confirmed that they would be studying the documentation and take soundings over the weekend from their constituents.

The world and his mother knows by now that we are facing a grave economic threat and more cutbacks, without doubt are on the way, but selling the family silver will not solve this crisis that we are in. Enough is enough.

Fethard Geese Threatened
Fethard Geese by Clashawley River
Ireland, as we know, has been threatened with severe fines by the European Union if the environmental situation is not greatly improved. Apparently, the conditions with regard to water pollution, cleanliness of beaches, the development of areas such as bogs, wetlands, etc. for our native flora and fauna and visiting wild life, such as wild geese, etc. leaves much to be desired. Accordingly, an approved Biodiversity Agency are currently carrying out a check on levels of pollution on all our waterways. During tests on our local Clashawley they have discovered, on the reaches of the river in The Valley and Pound area, the presence of the extremely rare aquatic insect, of the genus Hyposmocoma. This rare creature has only previously been discovered in Hawaii. You may well ask, how does this concern our geese? Well, the Hyposmocoma can live above or below water. While in their development as small caterpillars they bind snails with silk webbing before devouring them whole.

Unfortunately, these snails, known as the Red Nagy Esoog, who provide a very necessary food in the development of the larvae of the Hyposmocoma, known at this stage as Loof Lirpa, are irresistible to geese. The geese devour them with relish and are not adverse to consuming the aquatic insect with them. The powers that be say the geese must go. We say nonsense. The geese have been there for quite a while now. We say let them be and let the foreign insect look out for itself. Motions are afoot to start a Save Our Geese Campaign. The geese are very much part of medieval character of Fethard Town. They have been much admired and photographed and fed by locals and tourists alike. Cards to promote the project will be distributed shortly. Further information can be had at www.loof-lirpa.ie
— (E.A.N.)


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