Parks service calls for removal of No slogan
Anti-abortion campaigners who erected a giant “No” slogan on Ben Bulben mountain in Co Sligo insisted yesterday that they had not broken the law.
Those who erected the lettering described it as a “cry from the mountain to save Ireland’s babies”, and said it would remain in place until after the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service has called for the removal of the sign saying the installation of “alien materials such as this on to a special area of conservation is insensitive to its conservation status and incompatible with the habitat”.
“The owners should procure its immediate removal so that Ben Bulben is returned undamaged to its natural and beloved state,” it added.
Sligo County Council has confirmed its planning enforcement section is investigating the matter. It has received complaints from, among others, the heritage group An Taisce.
Many local people strongly criticised the erection of the sign, saying those responsible had defaced the mountain and caused embarrassment for those trying to promote the northwest.
But groups campaigning for a No vote locally said the action reflected frustration over a perceived lack of balance in the media.
Tommy Banks one of those involved in erecting the slogan said about 20 people involved in the operation had been on the mountain from 4am yesterday carrying out what he described as a “mammoth task” .
He estimated that the letters were 160 feet high and said they were made from plastic cladding. Mr Banks said they had permission from all the landowners and had been helped by “men of all ages, and women as well, down making tea and sandwiches”.
Mr Banks told Ocean FM that the operation was “well planned and well executed” . He claimed that the Government was “planning to execute the future children of Ireland” and were were not listening to the people.
Fiona Candon, president of Sligo Chamber of Commerce expressed her disgust at the development.
“It is terrible that our beautiful iconic Ben Bulben is being shown in such a light today”, she said. Ms Candon said the issue was not whether it was Yes or No campaigners , but that the mountain was being used negatively in such a way.
A large “NO” has been erected on Ben Bulben mountain in Sligo.