Save Knock Iveagh!

£1,960 of £20,000 goal

Raised by 59 people in 4 months

We all want to believe that the places and heritage we love will be protected by somebody else for our children to enjoy. Some really important places in the UK benefit from protection by law and are supposed to be kept safe by our government bodies for the benefit of everyone. One such place is the ancient Neolithic burial site on the hill at Knock Iveagh. Although the burial site (cairn) is older than the pyramids and should be treated as a gem in the crown of beautiful Co Down, right now unfortunately it looks like somebody has dropped the ball because it is under terrible threat.  Our public bodies have the power to save the hill and it is up to us to make sure they do so. That is why we are asking for your contribution to this important fight. Legal advice costs money, but this is a fight we can and must win.

Knock Iveagh is a hill outside Rathfriland in Co Down which is the setting for a Neolithic Round Cairn (ritual and burial place) dating back to beyond 3000BC.
The cairn measures 100ft in diameter and is 10ft tall. It is visible as a lump on the skyline of the hilltop from miles away. The cairn was located in this position in order that it be the most dominant feature of the hillside. As a likely place of inauguration the surrounding 360 degree views of the landscape would also have been key.  

Recently, a tall broadband mast was erected beside the cairn without planning permission. Even worse,  we understand that planning permission was granted in 2013 for a WIND TURBINE of up to 41 meters high on the site.  That turbine could be erected at any moment and it is vital that we take urgent action to protect the site. Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council is also currently considering an application for retrospective permission for the broadband mast.

Since discovering these issues last month, the Friends of Knock Iveagh have been working with the Annaclone Historical Society to try to protect the hill. Expressions of support have been received from all sides of the political spectrum and a petition calling for the site to be protected currently has over 1400 signatures here https://www.change.org/p/save-knock-iveagh 

It is our understanding that Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council can revoke permission for the turbine at ANY TIME but as yet has chosen not to do so, despite being contacted on numerous occasions by the Friends of Knock Iveagh.

This crowdfunding website has been set up to help raise funds to pay for legal costs to protect this important site and we are asking for your support. More information about the background to this sorry story and our serious concerns about the processes which have been followed by the public bodies which have the duty and responsibility to protect this site are given below.

We understand that the broadband mast has been erected without any planning permission, and based on what we know right now, although planning permission exists for the building of a wind turbine, this permission appears to have been granted following a planning process which gives us serious cause for concern. Some of the concerns we have about the planning process for the turbine include that:-

1/ It appears that the application for a wind turbine was STREAMLINED. The Friends of Knock Iveagh cannot understand how a site beside a scheduled historic monument could ever have been considered an appropriate site for a streamlined application. 

2/ Both HED and Armagh banbridge and Craigavon Council have confirmed to the Friends that there was no consultation with Historic Environment Department prior to permission being granted. Since the turbine proposes is beside a scheduled site it is our understanding that the HED should have been consulted.

3/ Why does a 2013 Professional Planning Report in relation to the turbine note that “There are no built heritage interests at this site” when there is a protected Scheduled monument on the hill?  

4/ Knock Iveagh is singled out and mentioned numerous times as being a location unsuitable for wind development. Planningni guidance on wind farms (which mentions KnockIveagh 11 times) states that ‘Particular care should be taken to avoid adverse impacts on areas with memorable long distance views to the Mournes and Sperrins eg Knockiveagh summit.'

5/ Publicly available information from the NI Planning Portal also suggests that the nearest neighbours were unaware of plans for a wind turbine until very recently. The Friends of Knock Iveagh believe that until very recently the general public were entirely unaware of the plans for a turbine this scheduled protected site. Given the enormous upset and community engagement since the plans were uncovered it is very clear that had reasonable and proper consultation taken place at the time, the turbine application would have been robustly opposed.

If allowed to proceed, these developments will utterly destroy the setting and environment of this magical historical place. We cannot let our shared heritage be destroyed and we must ensure that the public bodies with the duty to protect it step up to the mark and do their jobs. If mistakes have been made, it is their job to put things right and we want to make sure they do.
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Dear All,

As you may have seen in the news today (see https://www.facebook.com/tvconormac/videos/1724100080994999/) ABC council planners have decided not to recommend revocation of the planning permission for the turbine, so work started on putting it up today. Whilst this has made for extremely bleak and heartbreaking viewing, it has strengthened our resolve. We really (REALLY!) don't think it should be up to individuals like you and me to make sure that the bodies we pay to apply our planning laws and protect our historic monuments do what they are supposed to do, but equally we cannot sit back and let this happen to such a beautiful and important site.

We therefore now need to raise a LOT (!) of money in a very short time. With that in mind, please ask yourself whether you might be able to donate more yourself, AND/OR whether you can spend two minutes sharing our campaign and this page with your contacts and friends on social media (and encouraging them to donate!).

Please keep an eye on the group and page for ideas about other ways you may be able to help whilst meeting your other festive responsibilities!

Thank you again for your donation and support.

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As you all know, some weeks ago we began trying to raise funds to help take legal advice to protect the hill. We have had some very generous donations, some private and some public. Although we have had 'in house' solicitors working within the group for free in an effort to keep our legal spend down, your generous donations have enabled us to take advice from solicitors and barristers with specialist expertise in planning law. Over the past few weeks we have worked with them not only to send the pre-action protocol letters which we believe resulted in the Council issuing the temporary stop order on 23 October, but also to draft a detailed document identifying some of the key planning concerns about the development on Knock Iveagh. We shared that document with ABC Council today. We very much hope the contents of this document, together with our wider campaign, will persuade the Council to revoke permission for the wind turbine and stop the development on this important site. We quite honestly cannot thank you enough for your support to date. We will update you again as soon as we can.
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27 OCT 2017 — Many thanks to everyone who has signed and shared our petition.

The signatures were printed off and the petition was delivered on behalf of the Save Knock Iveagh campaign to a full meeting of ABC council last Monday evening (23rd October).

During this meeting, the Friends of Knock Iveagh learned that the Council has decided to issue a 28 day stop notice concerning works at Knock Iveagh. This is apparently due to a 'breach of planning conditions' at the site, and no further information has been provided about this breach.

In response we have issued the following statement:

'Knock Iveagh is an important Neolithic cist cairn, one of the oldest indigenous burial sites in the North of Ireland. Leading archaeologists also believe it is also the probable inauguration site of the early Uí Echach Cobo tribe rulers and later for the Magennis Lords. As such, its siting as the most dominant feature at Knock Iveagh and its clear, unobstructed views of the surrounding lands in all directions are integral to this scheduled monument.

The Friends of Knock Iveagh welcome the 28 day stop notice issued last night concerning the works at Knock Iveagh. We hope that this will allow time for ABC Council to undertake a proper consultation process with the Historic Environment Division, who should have been a statutory consultee at the time of the original application. We also call for a full, independent review of the planning process which has clearly gone so very wrong on this, and too many other occasions. If this development is allowed to proceed then it simply demonstrates that none of our heritage is safe. Waringstown, KnockIveagh, where next?

In the meantime the site is still under imminent threat, and our campaign will continue to pursue all possible channels to ensure the safety of Knock Iveagh. We are crowdfunding to help cover legal costs[1].

This is a site that has been cared for respectfully for millennia. The Friends of Knock Iveagh are campaigning to preserve the beauty and integrity of this place for future generations. This is not about NIMBY-ism, it is about ensuring that a place which should have already been protected under law, IS protected. It is about respecting the stewardship that we all share for these special places, and understanding that once they are destroyed, they are irreplaceable.

Our campaign will continue until Knock Iveagh is restored in so far as is possible to its former condition, and the public once again can enjoy unfettered access to this nationally important Heritage Site.

We now urge the Council to work closely with the Department for Infrastructure to establish a way forward together which will protect this site for future generations.

[1] http://www.gofundme.com/saveknockiveagh'

As you know, we are now actively fund-raising to ensure the ONGOING protection of this area, and we intend to take whatever steps are necessary in order to achieve this. As things currently stand the site is not safe and the stop notice is only temporary. Although the illegal broadband mast must now come down, a turbine more than TWICE the size of it is about to go up...

Our campaign has received cross-party support from MPs Chris Hazzard and Jeffrey Donaldson, and MLAs Jim Wells, Sinead Bradley and Sinead Ennis.

WE ARE FUND-RAISING to cover the legal costs associated with challenging the decision to allow planning permission. WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP!

Please donate whatever you can towards our legal costs. The link is below. We cannot allow our heritage to be destroyed in this way.

A video explaining some of the many questions we have about how this planning permission was granted is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtzP9Ff9CGM

Amongst the press coverage of recent events, Ned Kelly, Former Keeper of Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland was interviewed about Knock Iveagh for BBC Good Morning Ulster. He makes a powerful case for the protection of this site, and we are grateful to have such an internationally respected archaeologist speak with such authority. The interview starts at 2h15m into this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0999rv3

The Friends of Knock Iveagh have organised a Halloween Ramble which will take place this Sunday 2-5pm at Castlewellan Forest Park, and more community events are being planned. All are welcome!

For more information about this event and to keep informed about news relating to our ongoing campaign, please join us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/319300688541041/

Once again we want to thank you for all your support.

Knock Iveagh is not the only place where our heritage is under threat, but with your support it can be the place where we draw the line.... Together we can take a stand for our unique heritage and the special landscapes we all love
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Raised by 59 people in 4 months
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