| 15.8°C Belfast

Ancient site in Tyrone is closed off after damage complaints

Close

Concern: SDLP councillor Sharon McAleer said the area was being destoyed

Concern: SDLP councillor Sharon McAleer said the area was being destoyed

Concern: SDLP councillor Sharon McAleer said the area was being destoyed

A prominent prehistoric burial site in Co Tyrone has been cordoned off following complaints of damage.

The matter was first raised at a meeting of Mid-Ulster District Council's environment committee earlier this month.

SDLP councillor Sharon McAleer claimed "40 bikers" were seen going over the top of Knockmany Hill near Augher and claimed they were destroying "the wildlife, nature and fauna along the way".

These claims were then refuted by a local cycling group who said they were victimising bikers.

However, the council has now confirmed it has temporarily prohibited access to the top of the mound to allow the grass, which was damaged, to regrow and protect the area's biodiversity.

Speaking at a meeting of the council's environment committee, Ms McAleer said the actions of these cyclists, who she claimed were not from the local area, was unacceptable.

"Unfortunately at Queen Annya's burial site, 40 bikers were counted going over the burial site which is just not acceptable," she said.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

"They have dug up all the ground and then proceeded to go down through the forest and destroy the wildlife, nature and fauna along the way.

"These are not local bikers, they would not dream of going up that area and I am very concerned because the area is slowly being destroyed."

DUP councillor Frances Burton said she was in agreement with Ms McAleer, telling the chamber, "it is a disgrace and ridiculous that this has happened".

These claims were subsequently countered by a local mountain biking group who labelled them "inflammatory".

"Councillor Sharon McAleer has made an attempt to disparage mountain bikers.

A council spokesperson said that as of March 18, the area has been cordoned off and will only reopen once the ground has recovered.

"Inspections of the area have been carried out," they confirmed. "The area around the mound at Knockmany has been cordoned off, and access to the top of the mound is temporarily prohibited.

"This is to allow the grasses which were damaged to re-establish and to further protect the biodiversity of the area."


Top Videos



Privacy