A MEETNG is to take place to discuss the ongoing maintenance of historic sites in Fermanagh.
It follows problems with the upkeep of the monastic site on Devenish Island where one tourist was left in a critical condition after being attacked by a bull during the summer.
Correspondence from both the Department for Communities and the Historic Environment Division was dealt with at last week’s meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh Council.
A private secretary within the Department of Communities said that they had asked for an early meeting with the new owners to ‘explore options’ to realise further the beauty and importance of the island.
“The Department previously ran a ferry service from Trory Point, but it proved difficult to maintain this service,” they said.
“Rather than seek to run a service in competition with other operators, Departmental officials have been working with those operators to enable access to the site and to the visitor facilities.
“We see this as a pilot scheme as part of assessing how best to work collaboratively to maximise safe access for future years and I understand that significant numbers of visitors are accessing the island via this route.”
The official added that vandalism had meant that the visitors centre and toilets could not be left open in the past and one local councillor called for the issue to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
Howard Thornton of the UUP said the problems at had highlighted the need for issues surrounding these historic sites to be addressed.
“We have had Tully on the news and also Monea Castle and all that I can do is stress the significant of these and make sure that our tourist literature is up to date,” he said.
Cllr Smith said it was unfortunate that areas within tourist facilities were now closed to the public.
“It is wrong that people are not able to access these sites without having to go through fields which this evening was described as having a dangerous bull with a ring in its nose.
“Now we have friendly enough livestock around that area, but for people who are strangers and unfamiliar in dealing with animals it can be a frightening experience and it is no laughing matter.
“But I didn’t like the suggestion of putting up electric fences to separate humans from the livestock. There has to be a better solution than that and the necessary investment to ensure that these facilities are open to the public.”
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