The National Trust has agreed to remove and erect a fence around Dundarave football pitch in Bushmills each year to facilitate a Twelfth of July bonfire - but one Moyle councillor has questioned what the Trust’s interest in the area is?
Clr Padraig McShane was speaking at Monday night’s meeting of Moyle District Council when members heard that a decision to proceed with fencing around the pitch was deferred due to costs associated with removing and reinstating the fence each year to facilitate a bonfire.
The local football team needs a fence in place as part of stipulations to allow them to play in the Intermediate League.
Members heard that the National Trust has now agreed to meet the cost of removing and re-erecting the fence each year.
Cllr McShane said: “While I would like to see the facility upgraded and the football club being upgraded, my concern is with the National Trust.
“What is the National Trust’s interest here? I am concerned about this.”
Cllr McShane added that he was worried that in the future if the National Trust was having difficulty providing adequate car parking, “there would be neither site for football not bonfire”.
“I would be worried that some day in the future someone will decide it is more inportant for car parking for the National Trust. There are alarm bells ringing in my head.”
Chairing the meeting, Cllr Donal Cunningham said: “I accept there are long term fears but we can’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Cllr Sandra Hunter thanked the National Trust for doing work for the community and proposed that Moyle Council accept the offer to allow the club to be able the play in the Intermediate League. This was seconded by Cllr William Graham.
Cllr Robert McIlroy said that while he wanted to see the local team get the upgrade they need, “they should be getting it through Moyle District Council and not the National Trust.”
“I don’t want to see a situation where the club or the people of Dundarave are being told what they can or can’t do because they gave away their pitch.”
Director of Environnment Service for the Council Aidan McPeake said it was in the National Trust’s interest to keep the place “clean and tidy and keep the bonfire away from the car park”.
Cllr Joan Baird said Council should accept the assistance of the Trust.
She said couldn’t remember any other occasions when the National Trust had helped a community in such a way, “Hopefully they are now listening to local democracy,” she added.
Cllr Seamus Blaney replied: “The only thing the National Trust listens to is the tinkle of coins going into the till.”
Cllr David McAllister said the Trust had assisted with welcome signs in Bushmills. “Maybe they think it is time to give us something back,” he said.
It was finally agreed to accept the National Trust’s offer.