Bill to tackle illegal encampments on the Curragh to be reintroduced-Senator Fiona O’Loughlin

Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin will reintroduce her bill entitled Curragh of Kildare (Amendment) Bill in the Senate in response to further encampments on the Curragh.

This bill will amend the Curragh of Kildare Act 1961 to make provision for the management and use of the Curragh whereby the Minister for Defence may grant a licence to persons for continuous occupation of any part of the Curragh for a specified period of time. Anyone residing on the Curragh without such a licence would be committing an offence.

Senator O’Loughlin said, “I introduced a bill to tackle illegal encampments on the Curragh during the last term in the Oireachtas which unfortunately fell due to the calling of a General Election, and I plan to introduce an amendment bill again in this term of the Senate.”

“This bill, if enacted will require a licence to be granted by the Minister for Defence authorising anyone who occupies any part or parts of the Curragh for any purpose. I took part in the An Taisce Spring Cleanup this Sunday where we cleaned from Belmont Green to the Curragh, and the levels of litter and dumping was quite unacceptable. It is also unacceptable to see the level of encampments on the Curragh Plains at present.”

“I have long advocated for the Curragh to be designated heritage park status, and in addition to its value in terms of heritage, as we all know, it is home to an active military base. There is no place for unauthorised encampments, and certainly not on the Curragh.”

Fiona concluded by saying “This Bill would target any person who occupies an area of the Curragh without a licence. Anyone in breach would be guilty of an offence and subject to a class A fine or imprisonment. We need to get tough on this issue, protecting our national heritage and our environment must come first.”