The Dundalk/Carlingford councillor said “the Cooley Mountains are beautiful at this time of year and we should respect this wonderful gift we have here in County Louth. There are a few people using the mountains as a scrambling track and it is churning up the soil and earth and destroying the area for those of us who appreciate it.”
Jim Loughran continued “we are coming into lambing season which can be a fragile time for farmers. When you think back to the weather we had this time last year, in some parts we had sheep buried in the snow and lambs lost. This year, the sheep on the Cooleys are facing new difficulties with careless and selfish people chasing them on bikes and quads.”
A farming representative said “It is hard to settle sheep on spring pasture when they are being chased like this. Some of the pastures are churned up so badly that it's visible in satellite photos and there are concerns that Single Farm Payments will be affected."
However, this is a cross border problem. Similar damage had been done in the Ring of Gullion on the north side of the border. When Gardai attempt to stop these activities, the groups of people just escape over the border leaving Gardai frustrated.
Councillor Jim Loughran welcomed the fact that a new alliance of farmers, walkers and conservationists have come together to combat the serious damage being done by scramblers and quads in the Cooley Mountains and the Ring of Gullion. “There will be a public meeting on Wednesday 9th April in the Carrickdale Hotel, organised by this new alliance, to discuss the problem on both sides of the border and how we can move forward.”