Row over Rathfarnham athletics lighting fixtures heats up

by Gary Ibbotson
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A long running battle between Rathfarnham Athletics Club and South Dublin County Council has intensified with the council saying no permanent lighting fixtures will be installed in Rathfarnham Castle Park.

Over 300 people have signed the club’s petition requesting permanent lights be installed in the section of the park where the club trains two times a week.

The park has played host to the athletics club since the 1980s and now boasts over 300 members between the ages of eight and 12.

The club were first in contact with the council back in 2013 when they saw a large spike in membership. Previously, the club felt the lighting coming from the castle was sufficient.

Recently, the club’s development manager, John McCabe met senior council executives who voiced their objections to the installation.

The council’s concerns are based on the fear that the local bat population will be startled by the powerful lights in addition to council’s policy to not install permanent lighting in parks that close at night.

McCabe has provided a rebuttal to the council’s concerns, saying that: “The theory has already been disproven by bat experts as the lights, which we require for two hours twice a week, can be angled in such a way as to have no adverse biodiversity effects.

“We police the entrance to the park at all times when we are there so preventing any antisocial behaviour,” he says.

When contacted for a statement on the issue, the council spokesperson said: “There are no plans to install lighting at Rathfarnham Park.”

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