Dublin City Council (DCC) has been accused of "scaremongering" after a number of letters threatening fines and imprisonment were issued to Rathfarnham residents who have posters on their gates objecting to the proposed BusConnects plan for their area.
The letters, sent on May 26, say that "advertising posters" constitute "unauthorised development", and the matter is under investigation by the Planning Enforcement Section of the council.
DCC said the letters were issued after it received "a complaint" alleging unauthorised development. It did not say who made the complaint.
The move has angered locals who say some of the people who received the letters are elderly residents currently cocooning during the Covid-19 lockdown.
"We're talking about A3-sized posters placed on people's private gates here. I can't for the life of me see how it constitutes unauthorised development," said local man Peter Lynch, who has been approached by elderly neighbours worried about the letters they received.
The signs on the gates read 'Community Not Corridor' and 'Save Terenure' and have a link to the communitiesnotcorridors.ie website.
"Elderly neighbours have come to me who are worried about the letters. They are cocooning from Covid-19 and worried enough as it is without getting threatening letters about little signs on their gates," he added.
"This looks like an attempt to quieten residents who are opposed to having their road widened for BusConnects," said Mr Lynch, adding the tone of the letter was "scaremongering".
Local resident Aidan Neill said he received four identical letters from the council on the same day.
"I think it's all very unnecessary, and it backs into the way the BusConnects project is being run," he added.