The Cavan Burren Park near Blacklion, part of the Global Geopark.

Villages to get special Geopark recognition

The villages of Blacklion and Swanlinbar are to receive particular recognition in the forthcoming Cavan County Development Plan 2022-2028 for their respective strategic locations within the global Geopark area.

But their inclusion ran contrary to the advice of the council’s executive who argued that each town contained within the wider Geopark region should be “treated equally”.

Responding to the motion for changing the draft CDP to reflect Blacklion’s place as a potential hub, senior planner Nicholas O’Kane said the council would prefer a more “balanced approach” with no “hierarchy” of settlements identified.

Cllr John Paul Feeley’s motion recognises the ‘strategic location of Blacklion at the heart of the Geopark’ and other Geopark towns, villages and communities and seeks to promote each for the development of appropriate ancillary facilities like interpretation, accommodation and social outlets.

Similarly, his other motion referenced by name ‘support for Swanlinbar’ and other Geopark towns, villages and communities as hubs for appropriate outdoor recreational activities.

The motions were seconded by Independent Brendan Fay and Fianna Fáil’s Sean Smith respectively.

Again, the objection put forward by the executive to Cllr Feeley’s Swanlinbar motion was on the basis that “each town and village should be considered equally”.

Both motions went to a vote, but not before Cllr Feeley responded to the executive’s consideration.

With regards Blacklion, he said the border village was important given its proximity to the Shannon Pot and it also now housed the central administration unit for the Geopark.

“It is at the fulcrum for development of the Geopark,” stated Cllr Feeley.

In respect of Swanlinbar, he explained that significant community investment had taken place in the village, where much work had already taken place, from the opening of a new Cuilcagh Café at Trivia House to exploring the feasibility of running outdoor recreational activities in area.

The Blacklion geopark vote was passed by 13 in favour (Philip Brady, Brendan Fay, Aiden Fitzpatrick, Clifford Kelly, John Paul Feeley, Peter McVitty, Sarah O’Reilly, Shane P O’Reilly, TP O’Reilly, Sean Smith, Val Smith, Patricia Walsh and Craig Lovett) to three against (Madeleine Argue, Winston Bennett and Carmel Brady), and two abstentions (Paddy McDonald and Trevor Smith).

The Swanlinbar vote was passed with the same 13 again in support and four against (Madeleine Argue, Winston Bennett, Carmel Brady and Trevor Smith), and one abstention (Paddy McDonald).