State may step in and purchase almost 5,000 acres in the Glenasmole Valley from Nama

By Brendan Grehan

THE STATE looks set to buy almost 5,000 acres at Glenasmole Valley in the Dublin mountains which is currently for sale by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

The site, above the Glenasmole reservoir, includes land known as the Featherbeds.

WIND FARM

The Echo understands that negotiations are at an advanced stage. The land was valued by Nama at €500 an acre with an overall price of €2.5 million, the State is likely to purchase the land at a reduced rate.

The deal could be concluded by the end of this week, but the Department of Public Expenditure will then have to give approval.
A Spokesman for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht told The Echo: “We haven’t got a decision as of yet, but we expect a decision in the coming days”.

Minister of State for Heritage Michael Ring visited the site on Tuesday (July 26).

The 4,900 acres, most of which lie within a special area of conservation and a special protection area, are surrounded by 200,000 hectares of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Ireland’s largest national park.

A spokesman for Nama told The Echo that Nama does not own the property.

He added: “ It is being sold by Grant Thornton, the court-appointed administrator of the estate of its owner. Nama has a long-standing policy of facilitating the acquisition by state bodies of property from its debtors or receivers at an appropriate agreed value.

This has already resulted in a wide range of public bodies acquiring properties for social housing, educational and cultural use.”

The spokesman added that Nama has indicated to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs that it is willing to facilitate the Department’s purchase of these lands from the administrator, Grant Thornton, “at an appropriate agreed price”.

He added: “This is in accordance with Nama’s policy of affording public bodies the first option on the purchase of land and properties from within the Nama portfolio on the basis of assessed current market value. Engagements are ongoing in this respect”.

The possible purchase comes on foot of an online petition from Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD calling for the State to purchase the land. As The Echo went to press, the uplift online petition has attracted nearly 18,000 signatures. The petition will be delivered in person to the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD.

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