An urban farm in Ballymun? No thank ewe, frown locals

by Dublin Gazette
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Residents in Ballymun have mixed feelings at the prospect of an urban farm for the area, saying that the area needs “a number of other things” before a farm should be considered.

The idea of an urban farm was initially proposed by Cllr Andrew Montague (Lab) last October at a Dublin City Council meeting.

The site of the farm would be at the old Balbutcher Lane block of apartments, with the project proposed to use two acres of the available land.

Some local Ballymun residents have been up in arms at the news, taking to Facebook to ask why a farm is being proposed instead of social housing, or a long-awaited shopping centre in the area that was previously proposed.

“A farm, just what the people of Ballymun need! Who’s the brains behind this idiotic proposal, se-riously? Build some homes and a shopping centre,” said Sandra Whelan, with a number of other commenters backing her.

In the Facebook group Ballymun Talks, residents also mentioned recent attacks on ducks and swans in Poppintree Park which have seen animals fatally harmed.

Defending the proposal, Cllr Montague said: “The prospect of an urban farm in Ballymun is an intri-guing and exciting idea. The team behind the idea have really done their homework.

“They’ve shown that an urban farm could attract visitors to Ballymun, and many of those would stay on in the locality to spend in our shops, cafes and restaurants.

“Visiting Ballymun would be a great family day out. A farm would also be a great opportunity for local children to visit a working farm and see animals up close.”

A number of people also remarked that the reason for a lack of significant investment in the area is due to anti-social behav-iour in the locality.

Local resident Pamela Baitson said: “You will never attract business to Ballymun until the anti-social problem is dealt with. The lack of facilities for children, teens and young adults is the main reason for anti-social behaviour because they have nowhere to go and nothing to do.

“Give the young people something and you will see a decline in anti-social behaviour, then you will attract business”.

Not all locals are opposed to the idea, however, with some locals saying that there used to be a community farm at Balcurris field, and a farm could be a ‘social hub’ for the area.
Resident Ray Corcoran said: “We need hope, so young people can walk a different path to adult-hood, not with an addiction [to battle].

“The farm and other [similar] projects can bring employment for locals.”

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