Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has said that he is bitterly disappointed that the government sat on their hands and allowed Luggala Estate to be purchased by a private buyer who is believed to be based overseas. He also said that he is deeply concerned now about the continued access by the public to the estate for recreational use.
Speaking after the sale of the 5,000 acre estate Wicklow TD John Brady said “I am very disappointed that the government has allowed this once in a lifetime opportunity pass to acquire the 5,000 acres in the Luggala Estate. It has emerged that the estate has been purchased by a private buyer, who is believed to be based overseas. It is also understood that it was acquired for considerably less than the €28m asking price.”
“Since the estate first came on the market I have been calling on the government to purchase it. This 5,000 acre estate is adjacent to Wicklow National Park and has significant scientific and biodiversity value, as well as tourism potential.
I have been engaging with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan over the last 12 months and she has consistently told me that the State would only purchase the estate if the price fell into a certain range. It appears now that the Minister sat on her hands and allowed a private purchaser buy the estate for considerably less than the asking price.”
“This is a real missed opportunity to add to the fantastic Wicklow National Park as the Luggala Estate is bordered on three sides by the park. The National Parks and Wildlife Service also recommended that the State purchase 4,000 of the estate.”
Deputy Brady concluded by saying “There is now genuine fear regarding public access to the lands in the Luggala Estate. Luggala been widely used by the public and has some fantastic walking routes. Last year a number of signs were erected in the area warning people that the Luggala Estate lands were private property. Public access to the lands must be protected and the new owner must ensure that remains to be the case. The Minister must also answer the question as to why she allowed this once in a lifetime opportunity to slip through her hands.”