St Ed’s owners downplay works

by Ian Begley
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A series of complaints have been made regarding the treatment of lands at St Edmundsbury, which were recently bought by John Magnier and JP McManus, the owners of Luttrellstown Castle.
Denis McCarthy, a local resident of Beechpark, told the Gazette that extensive decimation has been done to the land’s woodlands, hedgerows and ditches.
He said: “Irreplaceable wildlife habitats have been destroyed, with little sensitivity being shown to the environment by the new owners.
“This is a terrible loss to us all and particularly so as our politicians assured us that this Liffey Valley Green Belt lands are protected.
“Are we next to lose our wonderful riverside walk amenity?” said McCarthy.
The pictures taken by the Beechpark resident show hedgerows and trees cut down, separating the fields on the land.
However, chief executive of Luttrellstown Castle and Country Club Colm Hannon said that the ongoing work is due to a tidy up process currently going on at St Ed’s.
“There has been no widespread cutting of trees – just bushes and weeds,” he said.
McCarthy went on to say said that the land, especially along the river walk of St Edmundsbury now looks “post nuclear”, saying: “What can be done? The destruction has taken place. There was such a battle to preserve the land, and I suppose the battle was won, but the war has been lost.
“Really why I did [take the pictures] is because I don’t think people know the extent of the damage that’s being done there.”
“You can see from the photographs that it’s really bad. The ditches separating the individual fields have been cut to nothing and a lot of them have been filled in.”
Lucan Cllr William Lavelle (FG) said that he has been contacted by numerous residents regarding concerns over works to hedgerows and ditches on the St Ed’s lands.
Speaking to the Gazette, he said: “These lands are absolutely protected from residential development, but agricultural activity is allowed.
“I have asked the council’s heritage and conservation officer to examine if the current works are in compliance with the protections afforded to these lands by way of the land zoning and special area amenity order currently in place.”
Speaking to the Gazette in December, Colm Hannon said that the land bought by John Magnier and JP McManus would be used for farming.
He also said that the owners had discussed the maintenance of the land with South Dublin County Council and local councillors, and denied any widespread cutting of trees.
“We’ve had extensive meetings with Cllr William Lavelle and the council on maintaining the land.
“There has been no widespread cutting of trees – just bushes and weeds.”
Hannon said that people who pass through the lands are seeing the cleaning up process taking place, and not the destruction or the total decimation of the land’s woodlands, hedgerows and ditches.
“In conjunction with the council, we respect woodlands and the environment, and Lutrellstown is a testament to that,” said Hannon.

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