Emo Court picnic protest organisers to meet OPW management on site

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Emo Court picnic protest organisers to meet OPW management on site

The 'picnic protest' visitors who were locked in to Emo Court.

The organisers of the 'Emo Court Picnic Protest', who were locked in for over an hour on the night of their event last May, are to meet with the Office of Public Works this week to ask for better access for local walkers.

Louise Drew and her son Jody Mulhall are hoping to convince OPW manager Rosemary Collier, to reopen what were long established walking routes across the front of Emo Court.

"We are not asking for the gardens to be opened. Local people need to be allowed to walk unhindered, as they always had, and feel safe to do so," Ms Drew told the Leinster Express.

The informal meeting will take place in Catoca Tea Rooms in Emo this Friday, at the invitation of Ms Collier, Principal Officer for National Historic Properties in the OPW.

Ms Drew plans to point out some of the access points that were traditionally left open for locals.

"I want to show her what we are talking about, to walk with her around the grounds. I will also suggest they rent out the estate houses again, which would bring in income for the OPW. I'll do my best," Ms Drew said.

A group meeting with all local concerned parties was promised by the OPW when it issued an apology after the lock-in.

http://www.leinsterexpress.ie/news/home/254732/apology-for-lock-in-but-status-quo-remains-at-emo-court.html

Up to 40 people, including Jody's father Joe who is wheelchair bound, were knowingly locked in by a security man who eventually returned to release them after over an hour, in darkness at 10.15pm. The group had phoned the Gardaí for help after calls to the security firm failed to bring the employee back.

Jody who is on the Autism spectrum, organised the picnic on his 21st birthday, out of his love of walking daily in the grounds.