The Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group was formed in November, 2015 as a Community response to concerns over the condition of the mountain together with concerns around safety, liability of shareholders and landowners, the status of the Croagh Patrick as Ireland’s Holy Mountain and the absence of structures to manage the impact of growing numbers of recreational users on the natural environment, habitats and ecosystems of the area.
The group has a broad representation of stakeholders including Mountain Shareholders, Church, Murrisk Community, Mayo County Council, South West Mayo Development Company, Mayo Mountain Rescue, Croagh Patrick Archaeological Society, and Tourism and adventure Sectors. The Group is chaired by Mr. Martin Keating, Head of Environment, Climate Change and Agriculture, Mayo County Council.
An ambitious work programme across a range of issues was agreed in January, 2016 to be completed in advance of the busy Summer Season.
Work commenced with a visit to Kerry in February to meet with the Reeks Stakeholder Group and view the progress being made on path improvement in the Mac Gillycuddy Reeks. The Group has met monthly and worked diligently between meetings to achieve the goals set in the work programme.
This has led to the completion of a very important first phase which culminates with the launchon Friday 1st July of a new map/information leaflet and signage for Croagh Patrick. The map is the first time that the route is clearly marked out on one ordnance survey sheet and will greatly assist users in navigating the route. There are also important messages from Shareholders, Mountain Rescue, and Leave No Trace together with information on The Pilgrimage, History and Archaeology, and Murrisk Community. New and complementary signage in the car park and the Statue will also be of benefit to climbers.
The safety advice of Mayo Mountain Rescue has been confirmed as the most appropriate and is now referenced on all Croagh Patrick related websites. The domain name Croaghpatrick.ie has been secured with a view to establishing a single comprehensive online presence.
The Group has also sourced historical ordnance survey mapping together with aerial photography and GIS mapping of the route from the car park to the summit. This will assist in establishing the current baseline for the condition of the mountain and how it has evolved over the last 150 years.
In addition, new people counters have been installed to track the numbers climbing Croagh Patrick and will provide valuable evidence around the contribution that the iconic mountain makes to the local economy.
The Group have considered the thorny liability issue including the implications of the recent judgement in the Teresa Wall Vs NPWS. A meeting with the Uplands Management Division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and Regional Development has been arranged to highlight Shareholder concerns and to influence proposals to provide a National Indemnity Scheme for Upland Areas as a matter of urgency.
Further details from Martin Keating, Chairman, Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group email@example.com