Thursday 18 July 2019

Council says it had to act for 'all park users'

John Manning

Fingal County Council has issued a response to the protest held by the Fingal Dog Owners Group saying that controversial park-bye laws that are seeing new off-leash areas fenced off in our larger public parks aim to 'reflect the needs of all of Fingal's park users'.

Senior officials from Fingal County Council say they met with the Dog Owners Group in December to discuss their concerns and to brief them on the relevant bye-laws and in particular the council's plans for extensive provision of dedicated dog-off leash areas and facilities in Fingal. According to the council, a further meeting with the group is planned for later in January. This will be an on-site meeting attended by council officials and representatives from the group.

The purpose of this meeting, according to the local authority, is to ensure that the council's plans 'take due account of the specific needs of dog owners and their pets in the context of the provision of the new facilities for dogs'.

According to the council statement: 'The new Parks and Open Spaces Bye-laws have been created to reflect the needs of all of Fingal's Park users. They aim to make parks and open spaces safer, cleaner and more enjoyable for everyone. An extensive consultation process, including seven road show events at parks across the region, was completed prior to the bye-laws being adopted by councillors in 2017.'

A council spokesperson said: 'Dog owners remain free to walk their dogs throughout the parks in Fingal provided they keep their dog on the leash other than in designated off-leash areas or at designated off-leash times. The amended bye-laws provide for extensive designated off-leash areas in larger public parks provided dogs are still under adequate control. In smaller enclosed parks dogs may be off leash up until 11am in the morning and for the last hour before the park closes in the evening. In all residential open spaces, dogs may be off-leash at all times provided again that they are under adequate control.'

Fingal Independent