I am writing to you regarding the proposed purchase of five thousand acres of the Dublin Mountains at Glenasmole Valley, in south County Dublin, in my constituency.
The sale of the land, easily the largest parcel of land to have come to market in recent years, is being handled by agents CBRE on behalf of the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) – and nobody could argue that this is NOT a NATIONAL ASSET. According to newspaper reports, the guide price is in the region of €2.5 million. This land straddles the Dublin/Wicklow mountains and is classified as moorland and mountain land and has extensive grazing rights.
NAMA has, as you know, a wider social remit that extends beyond commercial profit. It is scandalous, in my view, that the land has even been offered for sale, given its status.
NAMA, within the context of its overriding commercial objective, seeks to manage its portfolio in a manner that complements the objectives of Government Departments, local authorities and State agencies.
If you are familiar with the land, it is part of the most picturesque part of the Dublin mountains, taking in Kippure and sweeping down to the Glenasmole Valley and the Bohernabreena Reservoir. The Dodder River has its source here. It is, therefore, both a local and national environmental treasure. It is also surrounded by 20,000 hectares of the Wicklow National Park.
The area has huge tourist potential and the capacity to attract significant tourist numbers if the product is developed sensitively. As former chairperson of South Dublin County Council’s Tourism Strategy Group, I am acutely aware of how important this land is, both as an amenity, and to local people and visitors alike, because of its vast expanse, seclusion and unspoiled habitat.
Over 90% of the land is in a Special Area of Conservation and it cannot be developed.
I am requesting the state to:
- Intervene with NAMA to prevent the sale;
- Purchase the land on behalf of the nation;
- Develop the land as a National Park and as The Dublin Mountain Park, as proposed by the Tourism Strategy Committee of South Dublin County Council.Such an initiative has the potential to create thousands of jobs in the wider locality and region.
It represents, essentially, the sale of a part of Ireland.
I look forward to your favourable response.
John Lahart TD
Dublin South West
Spokesperson on Dublin