Moy River Trust hoping to start conversation about raising river profile

The River Moy in Ballina

The River Moy in Ballina

A new group formed in the Moy Valley is hoping to enhance the River Moy as a tourist attraction in Mayo.

The Moy River Trust is spearheaded by a group of locals with an interest in fishing and building tourism in the county, and they are hoping to start the conversation among people in the county about raising the river’s profile.

PRO Gary Smyth spoke with the Mayo Advertiser about the project and the Moy River Trust, saying that the trust itself has evolved because there was a need for a collective community approach to looking at the problems that people experience on the River Moy and the catchment area.

"The biggest one of course would be something like water quality. We’re also very interested in improving access to the river for people and communities and we’re also very interested in education and educating young and older people as well as farming communities about how we protect the quality and heritage of the River Moy.”

“I think what we certainly need to look at is a joined up approach or joined up thinking as to how we deal with the issues. The biggest issue, as I said, is probably water quality. We have lots of government agencies that are responsible for dealing with that issue. We have community groups on the ground that are very concerned, and I suppose heretofore they feel they don’t really have much input on how we deal with water quality, so what we’re proposing is that we start a conversation and that should involve government agencies and community groups," he said.

We will try and map or strategise a route forward where we can all play a part. When we all play a part or when we are involved we almost take ownership of these issues. That’s what we want to do, we want people and communities to take ownership of their river courses and their lakes and protect them for the future generations.”

Mr Smyth, a brother of local Fianna Fail councillor Michael Smyth, believes there is much scope to develop the river as part of the tourist industry: “What we started with when the idea of a trust first came to light, we got a guy called Mark Horton down from a river trust in Northern Ireland. He came down and gave a presentation to all the fishing clubs in the Moy catchment area, and what came out of that was that the fishing clubs need to start communicating initially because they would have most of the access and private ownership of the river banks.

"They needed to come together and start a conversation about how they could improve the access. We have had that conversation now and set up the Moy Catchment Association, and that’s basically a collection of all the clubs and private waters along the River Moy. What we have then realised is that it’s not just the responsibility of fishing clubs and private waters, it is much bigger than that. We need to involve walking groups, nature groups, and forestry groups, there are schools in the area where we need to roll out education programmes. It is endless, it’s very broad but we certainly appreciate that we need to cast our net wide and far and be all inclusive," he said.

If you would like to get involved, find out more, or know of someone you may think might have an interest in becoming involved contact Ciaran Boland on 086-3800034 or Gary Smyth on 086-8384684. You can also contact both via e-mail, [email protected] and [email protected].

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