Environmentalist lodges appeal against High Court ruling on A6 route

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Ornithologist and conservationist Chris Murphy has today lodged his appeal against a High Court ruling to allow the construction of a section of the A6 through ‘Heaney Country’.

The contested section of the A6 extension passes near to Lough Beg wetlands, which is home to hundreds of protected Whooper Swans for six months of the year as well as the Mossbawn area, childhood home of poet Seamus Heaney.

Mr Murphy lost a High Court battle in March. Mrs Justice Keegan said at the time: “The decision reached was lawful and rational.”

However, Mr Murphy today launched an appeal against that ruling and the Court of Appeal will now review all information relating to the legal challenge.

The Department for Infrastructure said last week it will commence construction on sections of road not subject to legal challenge.

“I am not ‘anti-road’ as some recent comments have portrayed me,” said Mr Murphy. “I support dualling of the A6 and smoother travel between Belfast and the North West. What I cannot support is the destruction of internationally important wetlands and an area of enormous cultural heritage.

“The area that would be impacted is a designated Special Protection Area due to its ecological value, it is the most important site in Ireland for the Whooper Swan and many other rare species of wildlife,” he added.

“In terms of history and heritage, the government’s chosen route would impact significantly on a landscape made famous by Seamus Heaney. This should be an area to conserve and promote, not bulldoze and destroy.”