DONEGAL County Council is inviting tenders to undertake significant remedial works at Sliabh Liag.
Details of the proposed works were published by the Council this week and the closing date for tenders is April 15.
The announcement comes less than seven months after the Donegal News reported that tonnes of expensive stone airlifted onto the iconic Sliabh Liag mountain walk by helicopter would have to be removed as it is believed to be the ‘wrong type’.
The ‘Mountain Trail Works’ project will involve works along various sections of the cliff top path to enhance the visitor experience and to protect against further erosion of the mountain.
In addition to constructing new sections of path, the works will also comprise replacement and upgrade of existing paths.
Rare plants and flowers, including juniper, were damaged when over 500 tonnes of stone in large bags were controversially dropped along the scenic walk back in 2014.
At that time a spokesperson for Mountainteering Ireland criticised the work undertaken by a private contractor on behalf of Donegal County Council, raising concerns about the quality of the path work and an apparent lack of relevant experience within the contracting team.
The spokesperson also asked that the quality of any remedial work at Sliabh Liag should match the quality of this magnificent landscape.
At the time of going to press the Council had failed to respond to a query from this newspaper which sought to ascertain the cost and time-frame involved in the proposed works and if the works would necessitate the closure of the pathway.
Last August, in resposne to a previous query, Donegal County Council confirmed that it had secured significant funding from both Fáilte Ireland and under Interreg to provide and improve infrastructure from a tourism and environmental viewpoint.
“To date expenditure of approximately €3.4m has been invested in the project, €1.5m in respect of Road and Access improvements, €1.2m in the provision of a visitors centre and transportation hub, €400k in respect of visitor improvement facilities including additional carpark and toilets, and €300k on mountain path works.”
Mountaineering Ireland stressed that visitors to Sliabh Liag should also recognise that the purpose of the path repairs is to protect the natural environment from the impact of increasing visitor numbers, and that a cliff path could be made safe without destroying the natural character of the landscape that draws people to this location.
“There will always be a responsibility on people walking Sliabh Liag to be properly skilled and equipped for what they are undertaking, and prepared to cope with the very variable weather associated with this part of the coast,” Ms Lawless said.
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