By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — A foreign couple’s dream of the good life on the rugged Long Island off the coast of West Cork has been destroyed by what they claim has been a campaign of threats and intimidation against them. The couple have now left for a new life in Sweden.
What finally made English-born Rolfe Turner, 38, and his Swedish
partner Len Mansson, 30, decide to leave Long Island, off Schull, was a hangman’s noose hung over the gate to the home where they had lived for the last three years.
They had moved to the island from Germany, having been attracted by the peace and solitude amidst the beautiful scenery of the area. They had raised goats and chickens, grown organic vegetables and sold smoked mackerel and craft items to make a living on the island where there are only 12 other residents.
The islanders have strongly rejected suggestions there was any
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campaign of intimidation against the couple or other foreigners.
The background to the controversy has not been fully explained,
possibly due to legal implications. They now plan to start again on the Swedish island of Oland.
"We really love this place. This is our home. I don’t know if I will
ever have something like this again," said Rolfe from Yorkshire, before they left the small farmhouse and holding they had leased from an American owner.
Mansson said they had discovered the noose when they returned after a night out.
"I couldn’t open the gate because there was a rope there. It was all
dark and when we got the lights on, the rope had a hangman’s noose at the end of it.
"We couldn’t believe it. We were shocked. We broke down and cried. It was just awful. I never thought anything like this would happen to me."
She said she definitely was concerned about her safety. "That’s why we are getting out. I don’t feel safe here any more."
Turner said he felt exhausted and frustrated that it had proved
impossible to find dialogue with people.
Liam Chambers, island’s development officer for West Cork, has
condemned the situation.
"On all the islands there is a good welcome for new families moving in. It’s unfortunate that some people, who are not resident on the island, have exerted this pressure on this couple. It is uncharacteristic and it is deplorable as far as we are concerned," he said.