Opponents of ‘Castle View’ project appeal for turlough to be ‘protected’

The chairperson of Roscommon Tidy Towns Association Ms. Kathleen Shanagher has said that the mooted Castle View plan which has been proposed for the Loughnaneane Turlough would not be suitable for what she describes as a unique part of our natural heritage.    Ms. Shanagher has voiced her opposition to the plans by Galway-based developers to provide a major new commercial and social centre in the area in question.    Roscommon Castle View will, if it comes to fruition, involve the development of a massive new economic and social amenity on a 52-acre site in the Lough area of Roscommon.    Envisaged in the plan is the following: Private Hospital, Education Building, Retirement Village, Medical centre, Multi-Storey Carpark, Cinema, Hotel, Retail Units, housing and recreational area.    The Galway-based architects Douglas/Wallace have issued a prospectus detailing the proposed plans on behalf of their clients. At next Monday’s meeting of Roscommon County Council it is expected that councillors will vote on whether or not to support a rezoning of the lands in question.    Ms. Kathleen Shanagher of Roscommon Tidy Towns Association said that she is not opposed to progress in the town but she pointed out that whereas the area in question would have to be rezoned, there are other areas in the town region already zoned for commercial purposes. In any event it was her contention that the turlough area is a natural wetland which should be protected.    ‘In any other country this type of proposal wouldn’t even be countenanced,’ Ms. Shanagher said. ‘I really feel the people of Roscommon have to take on board how important this turlough is and how vital it is that it be preserved.’    Ms. Shanagher added that wildlife very much ‘falls into the remit’ of the Association. She said that a few years ago Roscommon town was recognised with a Wildlife award by Tidy Towns judges in recognition of the valuable wildlife amenity which ‘is being protected’ in Loughnaneane Park.  What is a Turlough?  Turlough or Turlach is a word used to describe ephermal lakes such as the renowned ‘Lough’ area near Roscommon Castle.    Roscommon town Turlough, known locally as ‘The Lough,’ is located in the townland of Loughnaneane, approximately half a kilometre from the centre of the town.    It is bordered on the east by the renowned 13 th century Norman Castle.    The turlough derives its water primarily from aquifers. These consist of a network of channels throughout the limestone, which fill with groundwater during periods of high rainfall.    The Turlough is considered to be of tremendous geomorphological, hydrological, botantical and orthnithological interest.