Hundreds attend National Park meeting in Ballycastle

HUNDREDS of concerned residents turned out to a public information meeting in Ballycastle on Wednesday night (November 14) to express their opposition to proposals for a national park being designated on the north coast.

The Giants Causeway and the Glens of Antrim are two of four areas currently being considered for national park designation, along with the Mournes in Co Down and the Fermanagh Lakelands.

Three men from Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales spoke at the meeting, expressing their opposition to national park status and warning locals to reject the plans.

Environment minister Alex Attwood was not present at the meeting.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without a national park which is an area of protected countryside administered by its own independent government-funded body to look after its conservation and promote its benefits.

There are 15 national parks in Great Britain and six in the Republic of Ireland.

More than 1,000 people attended a public meeting last month in Newcastle, County Down, where farmers and local residents voiced their opposition to the Mournes being designated a national park.