The MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Access Forum, which is made up of representatives of all the stakeholders involved in the area, including local landowners, local community and business groups, NPWS, local guides and users, Kerry County Council, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and facilitated by South Kerry Development Partnership, have confirmed following a meeting today (Tuesday) that it is their intention to ensure the cross at the top of Irelands highest mountain will be re-erected. It emerged over the weekend that the cross, manufactured by Liebherr and originally put on top of the mountain by Beaufort Community Council and local landowners, had been cut down and an attempt made to throw it over the cliff.
It is not known when exactly the cross was cut down but it was discovered by climbers on the peak early on Saturday morning. The matter is currently being investigated by gardaí in Killarney.
At the meeting of the forum held in the SKDP offices in Killorglin, the group strongly condemned the cutting of the cross describing it as sheer vandalism. The MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Access Forum is aiming to put in place a long term management plan for the reeks enabling them to be sustainably used for recreation purposes by all while recognising that the land on the mountains is in private ownership. The forum has been progressing very well over recent months and counters to identify the numbers of users of the mountain access routes have recently been put in place. Since news of the vandalism to the cross emerged, members of the forum have been inundated with offers to help re-instate the cross from both local, national and overseas people & companies.
The group have said that they will put plans in place to ensure the cross is re-instated on the top of Carrauntoohil as soon as possible. We will look at all options open with regard to undertaking the work and decide on the best course of action to achieve the safe and proper re-instatement of the cross.
They also called on anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area on Thursday or Friday of last week to contact gardaí in Killarney.