Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Council approves cable car plan for Mourne Mountains

Newry, Mourne and Down Distrct Council has approved a proposal to develop a cable car ‘gondola’ for the Mourne Mountains.

Plans for the ‘Donard Gondola’ to ferry visitors from a base in Newcastle up into the mountains is part of a tourism roadmap for the area known as the South-East Master Plan.

At a Council meeting on Monday last, officials approved the proposals and said identification of possible locations and tender documents will soon be issued.

Council officials say the gondola would give people a chance to see the spectacular landscape of the area from a unique vantage point.

A spokesperson for Newry, Mourne and Down Council said: “The next step for the council is to issue appropriate tender documents and appoint a company to deliver the visioning plan for Newcastle and the proposed gondola development.  Potential locations will be identified as part of this visioning plan.”

It had been suggested that the gondola would operate from Donard Park at the foot of the mountain range to Millstone Quarry or Thomas Mountain Quarry, with a timeframe of five to 10 years.

Meanwhile, in a letter to local publications, the proposal has been described as “idiotic” and would have an “extremely negative aesthetic impact” on the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Opposing the plan, the author stated: “The mountain is accessible enough and arguing for progress in this respect is just cover for the real pseudo-benefits of improving tourism (which I don’t think it will) or justifying the existence of councillors.  I have yet to meet a local who thinks this is a good idea. But I have met a lot of people who will fight this tooth and nail.”