Barricaded Mizen Head on your head Wicklow County Council

Guest writer Sean Doyle with a piece on an Anglers “fish in” protest that took place on Saturday 11th August and was attended by Eirigi and members of the independent Workers Union.

This stunningly beautiful tranquil place which has given enjoyment to anglers, walkers and strollers since time immemorial but its serenity has been shattered on occasions by greedy land owners and land grabbers as far back as 1969.

Seamus Costello was arrested rallying to the plight of locals who were being denied free access to Brittas Bay just a short distance from this barricaded shoreline at Mizen Head. An attempt by the owner of the European golf club - whose land borders this unregistered coastal strip adjacent to the shoreline - to land grab, encouraged in the knowledge of his powerful friends and lackeys in Wicklow County Council who do not wish to cross swords with a man possessed by greed and ownership.

We have no desire to own the countryside or mountains or shoreline. But we are resolute and determined to prevent land grabbing and the exposure of any officials of state who aid or fail due diligence to protect citizens' rights to avail of this natural beauty and tranquillity which is their birthright.

A brief background and history of this land grab I have no doubt will resonate with many throughout the country. For others it will shock and leave you in disbelief. Let me explain. You’re familiar with the term “one law for the rich and one for the poor”. The fact that he erected the barricade in the first place believing he could get away with it confirms my worst and previously outlined fears. Judge for your selves.

Local anglers and walkers wrote to Wicklow County Council and raised their objections to this barricade. It was referred to An Bord Pleanala who carried out an extensive investigation in 2004. The letter of the 3rd of February 2003 from the planning authority explained the nature of the development subject of the warning letter that is, newly erected fence. It further stated:
  1. The fence does not appear to be necessary for the purpose of enclosing the actual golf course lands.
  2. It has been conveyed that the cliff edge has been habitually used by fishermen over the last ten years and as such has been open to the public.
  3. The land search carried out by the planning office found that the land holding of the European golf club did not extend as far as the rocks.
  4. Site boundary shown on the planning applications has not shown the rocks to be in the ownership of the European golf club.

I now draw the board’s attention to the maps numbers 3 and 4 forwarded by the planning authority. This is stated to be an extract from the drawings for a previous planning application by the European golf club and show the boundary of the lands in question. I note the eastern boundary is indicated at the upper edge of the bank above the cliffs. Wicklow County Council issued an enforcement notice in 2005 to the owner of the European golf club.

This is further proof if we ever needed it. There is no contest. Big business, property tycoons and the protection of is their function or this barricade would have been removed 7 years ago.

Local anglers and walkers have over the years exhausted and battled in dismay at the complicity of the state apparatus and obvious reluctance to protect public access to the shoreline favouring private ownership in some flawed thinking that due to their subservience the rich and powerful may someday reward them for their servitude.

As part of our ongoing campaign of protest to highlight this grave injustice of the barricaded shoreline to the anglers and strollers we participate in “fish ins” along this coastal strip. On Saturday 11th August 2012 we arrived to find to our surprise a large section of the barricade had been removed. We assumed the owner of the European golf club had relented and had a change of heart of conscience and bestowed it back to the rightful possession of the people.

We commenced fishing but in a short time the owner of the adjacent golf club arrived and our generosity of thought towards him was quickly dispelled. When he started making phone calls and was joined by another man with a camera that commenced taking photos of us we objected saying you cannot take photos of people without permission. He responded by saying on private property you can. We pointed out that this shoreline was not private property that the golf club boundary was further up the bank.

Shortly afterwards the Gardai from Arklow arrived and said the owner of the golf club claimed we were trespassing. We pointed out we were on the shoreline peacefully protesting against his claim to ownership. He said if we refused to move we would be forcefully arrested. We felt we had achieved our objective for today having discussed it amongst ourselves and our campaign will continue and intensify in the coming weeks. Anyone interested in participation your support would be welcome.


  1. In this day and age it is deplorable that Irish Land is still being stolen. A copy of the letter from An Bord Pleanala should have been shown to the Gardia, and, if he still insisted that arrests would be made if the protesters did not move on, then I would be in no doubt that he is on the take. Get a copy of the letter and take it to the next protestand request that someone from An Bord Pleanala be present with official documemtation to prove the Golf course owner is breaking the law.

  2. Sean does a great job in flagging up these issues