A Cork film producer is calling on the public to support his petition to preserve and restore the Gearagh delta, near Macroom.
Declan O’Mahony, who directed the film ‘River Runner’ which screened in Cork cinemas last year, said he was overwhelmed by the response of people, both at home and abroad, and his petition has over 2,500 signatures.
‘Until we released this film, the vast majority of Corkonians simply did not know the story of the River Lee and the upper valley. The fact that the Gearagh is an unique inland river forest delta, similar to places like the Amazon in South America, astounded them,’ said Declan.
‘Having this gem of nature on our doorstep demands our continued attention because it simply needs full protection in order to regenerate. This area of the Lee Valley has been sanctioned by Europe as a high priority Special Area of Protection.’
Declan points out that, in their current state, the back waters from the Carrig An Droichead dam – which he says is outdated and obsolete – continue to smother hundreds of islands and tiny streams, grassland and trees.
‘If the water level was permanently dropped, the Gearagh would grow back and has the full potential to become a world heritage site on a par with Newgrange, the Giant’s Causeway and the Burren.’
Declan recently began his signature campaign and he plans to personally deliver the petition and the signatures to Environment Minister Alan Kelly.
‘Before we can address the more complex issue of the dams and alternative routes for fish (‘fish passes’) to give the wild Atlantic salmon every possible chance to recover, we first have to ensure that the upper Lee inland river delta is fully protected and regenerated.’
Declan is asking the people of Cork and beyond to put the Gearagh on the world stage, where it belongs.
‘This is a golden chance for a new progressive generation of forward thinking Irish people to lead in this ecological matter. We have the vision, the money and the expertise to reverse this crime against nature and turn it completely around to benefit us and all future generations of the lovely Lee Valley.
Declan’s petition can be found at: