An Taisce strikes back over ‘Star Wars’ shoot

Ireland’s heritage watchdog has raised concerns about further filming of Star Wars on Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast.

An Taisce strikes back over ‘Star Wars’ shoot

An Taisce has written to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, asking her to explain why she was allowing the Disney project on the world heritage site.

The National Trust for Ireland is particularly worried about rats accidentally getting onto the island — a site of exceptionally importance. Heritage officer, Ian Lumley, said it was crucial that the island remains rat-free so birds that are unique to Skellig Michael could continue to breed there.

One of the most important protection measures agreed last year was the inspection of every load transported to the island to ensure no rats were being carried, and this was successful.

The national trust is worried that, if weather conditions are bad, it will be more difficult to ensure that the protection measures are enforced.

An Taisce pointed out that the first round of filming last year was facilitated in breach of long-established conservation policy for the world heritage site and that, even with current visitor restrictions, wear and tear was visible.

“The site is very fragile and none of it was ever intended for the human numbers and the levels of activity already occurring during the summer season,” said Mr Lumley.

An Taisce wants the minister to outline the legal and consent status of the project and to address other concerns.

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