Save Heaney Country: Our last great Wetland

Project by Aisling C.

Chris & Doris are fighting to protect Lough Beg, we desperately need funds to pay for good legal opinion, and for ongoing campaign costs.

We did it!

On 21st Aug 2017 we successfully raised £4,255 with 56 supporters in 56 days

Will you help Chris protect our last wetland wilderness?

"I have known and loved this area since childhood, I have written about it- or rather out of it often"  

“Any motorway desecrates, but some desecrate more than others,”

- Seamus Heaney in a letter to secretary of state Peter Hain in 2005.

Tucked away over the hill at Toome lies a beautiful place called Lough Beg, it is a little known area of incredible enviornmental and cultural significance.  Home to many protected species of birds and inspiration to Seamus Heaneys nobel-prize winning literature.   Sadly it is under imminent threat of a planned motorway to carry 22,000 cars per day.

It featured in BBC Countryfile in early june, click here to see how wonderful the area is!

Starting in October 2016 the NI government began construction of a £160 million road building scheme which plans for a dual carriageway to tear through this magical place.  The huge motorway construction stands to utterly destroy the features and recurring placenames of Heaney's writing. It passes within 100m of the Heaney homeplace, Mossbawn, setting for countless poems, and will permanently destroy the scenic landscape surrounding it.   Places made sacred in his work such as 'Anahorish,' and 'The Strand at Lough Beg' all stand to be permanently affected, altered or brutalised.

Further to this, the road will come within yards of the protected RAMSAR, SPA & ASSI site at wetlands in Lough Beg. This poses grave danger to many protected species and highlights the enormous Environmental implications of the development which have been ignored by the NI government.  Nature has no voice in the Courts.  We must speak up.

Below in red outlines the path of the road and the precious places that risk being destroyed forever.

Can we go for a win-win scenario?

Chris is in support of better infrastructure for the 'West of the Bann', simply asking for a rethinking of the plans and to reroute this small 4 mile section.   There were other options available, we know that another way can be found that would allow the ecology of Lough Beg to be protected and cherished for future generations.  

With the success of the the new Seamus Heaney Homeplace centre, a wonderful place just 40mins from Belfast, the wilderness of Lough Beg should be considered more of a natural asset than ever: as with careful management this precious wetland would provide long term sustainable jobs, greenways and tourism boost in the area.  

If this road goes ahead what would we say to people who come to see the places in Heaneys poems?....

"sorry...there is a motorway there now."  

Northern Ireland requires long term sustainable thinking. 

Chris Murphy the Personal Litigant has so far fought this incredible case with no legal representation everything has been navigated on a shoestring budget.  Thank you to those who helped with our other funding requests, this money was quickly used on legal opinion for the first trial hearing.   Despite the case being extremley strong, Chris was unsuccessful in the first attempt....he is now appealing that first decision as he believes it was flawed.

“This wetland is far too important to give up fighting for. If necessary I will take the case all the way to the European Court of Justice." Chris Murphy.

There has been two brave people standing between this road being railroaded through already, Chris Murphy and with his wife Doris have bravely fought in the Belfast High Court against this destruction.  We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.  They have had the full weight of the Department of Infrastructure resources thrown against them, at great personal cost and they need your support.  They are asking for funding for legal opinion so that Chris can go into Court equipped with the best available information and to pay the accumulating Court fees.

This is an outrage that this unlawful road has got so far. 


Will you stand on the right side of history with Chris and Doris?

Will you help by making a donation now? 

Can you support or get publicity for his campaign in any other way?  

Our heartfelt thanks.

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