Monday 22 October 2018 07:40:44 PM

Alliance Councillor Clarke Calls for Lighting at Dundrum Castle
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ALLIANCE Party Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke has written to the Minister for the Environment Alex Atwood MLA asking him to reconsider his decision not to fund the installation or running costs of floodlighting at Dundrum Castle.

In a previous letter in November 2012 to Councillor Clarke, the Minister had agreed to approve a number of refurbishment works, installation of new picnic tables and bins as well as some environmental improvements, including plans and long-term options for developing a visitor centre, but the Minister referred the installation and running costs of floodlighting of Dundrum Castle to Down District Council for consideration to fund and Planning Service to approve it.

Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “Following this letter from the Minister, I have been advised that Down District Council’s Estates Department has considered the idea and outlined that Down District Council have been asked to provide floodlighting before, the last time being Killyleagh Castle.  Down District Council did not support the request at that time.

“I have been further advised that in order to fund the capital expenditure for the lighting at Dundrum Castle, Down District Council would need to take out a loan and the Department of Finance and Personnel will not grant such a loan when the asset upon which it will be spent is not within Down District Council’s ownership.

“Also, Council Chief Executive Mr Dumigan has indicated that Down District Council will perhaps take the view that the DOE should fund such a proposal as Dundrum Castle is their building. With this in mind I have asked the Minister for the Environment to reconsider my request under the long-term options to develop a visitor centre at Dundrum Castle which the Minister has previously outlined to me, or perhaps discuss my request with the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency to explore the possibility of allowing Dundrum Castle to be floodlit.

“I really do believe if the Minister could investigate and establish the costings and funding regarding floodlighting the historic site of Dundrum Castle as part of the overall long-term measures with developing a visitor centre, it would be a huge step in showcasing this truly historic site.

“Floodlighting Dundrum Castle would certainly add to the tourism potential of this very popular all year round tourist attraction which has already been highlighted in the Village Development Plan for Dundrum 2012-2016 as a way of marketing and promoting the Castle more effectively to draw more tourists.”

During a Time Team excavation last summer, an early Christian building was discovered in the castle’s foundations, dated to around the time of St Patrick.