Conservation Management Plan
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Mr. Brian Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works launched the Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan.
Speaking at the launch in the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre at Ashtown Castle, the Minister said: “ This is a particularly auspicious time to launch the new plan as 2012 marks the 350th anniversary of the Phoenix Park’s establishment as a royal deerpark and the OPW has managed the Phoenix Park since 1860.
The Minister continued: “The previous plan has operated for 25 years now and has served the Park well. The new plan will see the Park well into the twenty first century. This plan has taken some time to come to fruition as not only the best professional advice was sought, but the widest possible public consultation was carried out. Many people present here today have ownership of the Plan through their submissions and participation in workshops. The professionals on the steering group shaped the plan. The experts who carried out baseline studies (mammals, planning, birds, bats etc.) have given us a snapshot of the park at this period in its long history and the public has demonstrated their affection for the Park by participating in this process in great numbers.”
“A lot has been achieved in the lifetime of the previous plan. Cross-Park traffic and accident numbers reduced, 14 kilometres of cycle lanes have been built and a successful cycle hire service introduced and the Park is friendlier for walkers and joggers. The Visitor Centre complex, including playground and walled garden now attracts over 400,000 visitors annually. Pressure on the Park is increasing with 250 major events and 2,000 sporting events annually. Park management must balance organised events with passive recreation. The park remains an oasis of calm and an escape from the city. Pressures on the Park can only increase but the new management plan will help guide present and future management. There are huge challenges ahead in maintaining a high level of services to visitors but there are also exciting new opportunities, for instance, the restoration of the Magazine Fort.” the Minister stated.
The Minister concluded: “ It is not possible to thank everyone who was involved in this project but I have to mention Dr. John McCullen, Margaret Gormley and the team at Whitefields as well as the staff of National Historic Properties. Our focus will continue to be on conservation, preservation, protection and management of the Park and we will be able to judge the success of the plan when the plan comes to the end of its life if the Phoenix Park is still the Park we see today.”