The State must step in and purchase the uplands at Luggala Estate due to it’s importance to Wicklow’s film and tourism industry, said Social Democrats General Election candidate Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore.
Cllr. Whitmore said “The iconic Luggala Estate is currently on the market following the death of Garech de Brun in March of this year. There have been fears that any future buyer of the estate may prevent public access to the land, and many groups, such as ‘Mountaineering Ireland’ and ‘Keep Ireland Open’ have called on the Minister for Culture, Josepha Madigan to buy the land and incorporate it into the Wicklow National Park. In fact, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) recommended last year that the State buy 4,000 acres of the property because of its “strategic importance” to the State lands and its tourism potential. The cost of this part of the estate has been valued at less than €2m, as it does not include the house itself.”
Whitmore continued “This is a very important site from a tourism and recreational perspective, and as our towns grow and become more urbanised, it’s important that we protect sites such as Luggala for future generations.”
“However, one aspect that I don’t think has received enough attention is the potential impact of any sale of this land on Wicklow’s film industry. Luggala Estate was described to me by someone in the industry as the “jewel in the crown’ of Ireland’s film locations and that any visit from the overseas film industry involves a visit to Luggala. A significant amount of filming on the site happens each year, and includes series such as the Vikings. Any closure of this land could mean an end to the industry having access to those filming locations.”
“The film industry is of enormous strategic and economic importance to Wicklow and I believe that we must do everything in our power to ensure that this site remains open and available for the industry and the public to access.”
“I raised this issue at today’s Wicklow County Council meeting and there was unanimous agreement from my fellow Councillors that we write to the Minister to request that she purchase the site on behalf of the State.”
“If people want to show their support for this proposal, I would ask that they sign the online petition that’s on change.org, which was set up by concerned resident Alec Dunne. Hopefully, if the public, Wicklow County Council and local groups come together on this issue, we can convince the Minister that the opportunity to safeguard this location for future generations is too good to pass up on.”