RUBBISH on the Reek continues to be a problem according to one regular climber who has called on groups using the holy mountain to act responsibly. Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, Ballina native Fintan Ruddy, who climbs to the pyramidal peak 60 times a year, revealed he carries down a large county council sackful of rubbish every time he makes the 764 metre ascent.
He believes that it is either groups of climbers or vendors that are the main culprits.
“I have found full cases of soft drinks or bottles of water stuck under rocks or to the side of the mountain. Whoever is organising these trips must act responsibly and ensure they look after their own rubbish,” said Mr Ruddy (69), who now lives in Maynooth, County Kildare.
He observed that the increased use of the mountain by sporting enthusiasts meant the path had significantly changed in recent times.
“This mountain is of archaeological and religious significance and is also situated in a spectacular location. Those using it must show respect,” he added.
When contacted by The Mayo News, Martin Keating, Westport Town Manager and Director of Services for the area, confirmed a network of stakeholders, who recently met about issues of concern regarding the holy mountain had made progress.
“The group has commissioned a report on the condition of Croagh Patrick, under the direction of Murrisk Development Association, and in consultation with Brian Quinn of Fáilte Ireland and Mountaineering Ireland. There is also a plan to devise a Code of Conduct for the mountain and this will be implemented through the Community and Enterprise Section of the county council, led by John Coll, who will convene a meeting of all the stakeholders,” Martin Keating said.
He confirmed that the increased usage of the mountain by sports enthusiasts was having an impact. “We hope that when the Code of Conduct is developed all groups using the mountain will sign up to it. Mountaineering Ireland has already leaflets that will be adapted to suit the needs of Croagh Patrick,” he added.
Mr Keating confirmed that some of the commonage landowners whose land traverses the pilgrim pathway attended the recent meeting.
Two weeks ago The Mayo News revealed that rubbish levels on the holy mountain, where patron saint Patrick spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting back in 441 ad, had become a real eyesore and problem. The issue was highlighted after an American tourist walked into the newspaper’s Westport office and left a big bag of rubbish he had collected during his visit to the popular tourist attraction.
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