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An Taisce lodges complaint over huge 'No' sign placed on Benbulben by pro-life group

Work on the sign began at 4am this morning and it has now been completed.

PastedImage-79407 Source: Ocean FM

Updated 9.50pm

AN TAISCE HAS lodged an official complaint after a huge ‘NO’ sign was placed on the side of Benbulben this morning by a pro-life group.

Commuters in Sligo reported this morning that the large sign has been placed on the north side of the famous peak.

The sight of the flat-topped Benbulben is one of the most iconic Irish mountain views and it is regularly associated with WB Yeats, who featured it in his poetry.

Political messages were previously placed on the mountain during The Troubles in the 1970s and 80s, when messages such as ‘H Blocks’  and ‘Brits out’ were painted on the face of the mountain.

An Taisce – a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland’s natural and built heritage – submitted the legal complaint to Sligo County Council regarding the sign.

“As the mountain is part of a sensitive rural landscape in a visually vulnerable and surrounded by scenic routes, all designated under the Sligo County Development Plan 2017-2023, there is a requirement to obtain planning permission and no exemptions apply,” An Taisce said.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service have also highlighted the ecological impacts of disturbance and introduction of alien materials onto the European Special Area of Conservation designated mountainside and called for its immediate removal.

Spoken to local gardaí

Speaking to local broadcaster Ocean FM from the mountain, Tommy Banks of Sligo for Life said that about 20 people are involved in putting up the sign.

He said the ‘N’ in the sign is 100m tall and that the sign is made of cladding. Banks said that the sign is temporary and will be taken down after the referendum

“It is a massive project and there are about 20 of us on the mountain at the moment involved in the operation. It is well-planned and well-executed, just as the government is planning to execute the future children of Ireland,” he said.

We’re just saying no, it’s a big cry from the mountain to say no.

Banks said that the group is confident they are not breaking any laws in doing what they did and that they received the permission of the landowners affected by the sign.

He also said that the group have spoken to local gardaí who inspected the sign.

In a statement An Garda Síochána said:

“An Garda Síochána does not comment on material displayed in public places by third parties but will respect the rights of all concerned and investigate each case or complaint on its own merits and seek a direction from the DPP.”

Sligo County Council said that because the land is in commonage – owned by more than one stakeholder – it was not in a position to act.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service called for the removal of the sign:

“The insinuation of alien materials such as this onto a special area of conservation is insensitive to its conservation status and incompatible with the habitat.

“The owners should procure its immediate removal so that Ben Bulben is returned undamaged to its natural and beloved state.”

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald  

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Rónán Duffy

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