Tuesday 15 October 2019

'Environmental vandalism' - local anger but council defends decision to flatten Dublin park's wetland area

Ecologists outraged as nature reserve in the Sean Walsh memorial park is flattened and filled in with landfill. Picture: Arthur Carron
Ecologists outraged as nature reserve in the Sean Walsh memorial park is flattened and filled in with landfill. Picture: Arthur Carron

Gabija Gataveckaite

South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has defended its decision to flatten a wetlands area in Tallaght after harsh criticism from environmentalists and locals.

The council is under fire for flattening the lands at Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght.

The Herpetological Society of Ireland (HIS) criticized the decision to flatten the lands, saying it was “heartbreaking”.

“Heartbroken to find Tallaght’s wetlands completely destroyed today,” it wrote on social media on Saturday.

“This was a vibrant multi-layered ecosystem, home to protected newts, frogs, bats and critically endangered European eels.

“Environmental vandalism,” it added.

“We cannot understand why [the council] would undertake such destructive action.”

The council is due to discuss the issue at a meeting later today.

In a statement to Independent.ie, the council claims that it was part of a process of removing silt and rubbish.

“As part of a planned process of removing built up silt and illegally dumped rubbish from the man-made lakes in Sean Walsh Park, SDCC carried out de-silting works during the summer months,” the statement reads.

It claims that the process of de-silting and cleaning of the lakes is essential for improving “the natural habitat of the park and for flood alleviation measures in the area”.

“While in excess of 40 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish was removed off-site, the drained silt was placed in mounds on an uncultivated area of the park to the north of the wetlands in Sean Walsh Park," it adds.

SDCC then went on to level the ground at the wetland.

“Following these works in Sean Walsh Park, the silt mounds were levelled. The Council will immediately review the practice of the disposal of silt drained from lakes. However, best practice dictates that the material removed is placed as close to the origin as possible,” the statement adds.

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