PROTESTS ARE to be held in Cork this week amid claims that the proposed designation of coastal areas around Castletownbere, Bantry and Schull as scenic landscape areas could lead to the depopulation of the west of the county.
Beara Chamber of Commerce chairman Michael O'Sullivan said the designation would force young homeowners in Beara, Mizen Head and Sheep's Head out of their rural communities and into towns and villages.
"They are trying to turn the Beara Peninsula, Sheep's Head and the Mizen into Jurassic Park . . . It is absolutely disgraceful. They should be encouraging people into the peninsula, not frightening them off. It is for the up-and-coming generation that we are protesting. The proposals would have serious and devastating consequences and would lead to depopulation."
Mr O'Sullivan said the special designation could see children of families in the area unable to get planning permission for houses later on.
The proposed designation of coastal areas around Castletownbere, Bantry and Schull as scenic landscape areas is to be voted on in the next few weeks by members of Cork Country Council.
The proposals were first put forward in August and are among a number of amendments to the Cork County Development Plan.
Some 200 people from west Cork are due to protest outside Cork County Hall today. However, supporters of the proposed measures claim scenic coastal areas have to be protected.