Calls for cattle grids to help protect Tallaght’s rural heritage

by Mark O'Brien
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Cattle grids, such as this one in the Curragh could help to protect Tallaght's rural heritage

There have been calls to protect Tallaght’s rural heritage by installing cattle grids in four locations around the area.

A cattle grid is an obstacle used to prevent livestock from passing along a road. South Dublin County Council agreed to look at the issue last year but little progress has been made on the issue since then.

PRO of Tallaght Community Council, Tara de Buitlear told Dublin Gazette that they would like to see some movement on the issue.

She said: “Tallaght Community Council would place a lot of value on heritage, so from our perspective there’s a couple of priorities or drivers around this.

“One obviously is to support our peers in the community and in this case they happen to be a rural community and farmers.

“Secondly, it’s important that we preserve the heritage of farming in Tallaght and in particular this commonage grazing.

“What the farmers are telling us up there is there is an issue with animals getting loose because commonage grazing wouldn’t be a very well used type of animal grazing.

“It’s a really old system where hundreds of years ago, farmers would have had communal areas of ground that weren’t really owned by anybody so it’s important that that tradition is preserved.”

The campaign has received widespread support from local councillors, as well as from well-known environmentalist Duncan Stewart, who hails from the Glenasmole area.

He said: “It is well recognised that the grazing by sheep and cattle in mountain pastures/commonages is critically important, in order to manage and maintain mountain vegetation and to protect biodiversity habitats and mountain landscape.

“It is therefore important that farmers are encouraged to continue to graze these mountains, as this sustainable practice has occurred over many centuries.

“This form of grazing is a free service that is provided by mountain pastural farmers, which is needed to control fires and for the common good.”

The council have cited concerns over road safety, but Tara said that cattle grids have been successfully installed in other parts of the country, such as the Curragh and Carlingford.

“It’s not that we’re looking to do something that hasn’t been tried and tested elsewhere,” she said.

“Really the road safety concerns that the council are sending don’t really stand up.”

Tallaght Community Council were due to meet with South Dublin County Council on Wednesday evening but the outcome of that meeting was not known at the time of going to press.

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