A community-led protest took place in Kimmage last Sunday to protest against controversial plans to straighten the Poddle river, threatening local wildlife.
Plans have been put forward by the Office of Public Works, Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council to straighten the historic river.
Under these plans, a flood defence wall will be built alongside the river, meaning that dozens of trees on the riverbank will be removed.
Residents in Crumlin and Kimmage say that the project threatens to damage two much-loved natural habitats – St Martin’s and Ravensdale parks – that are just 500 meters apart.
The parks are home to several different species of bird, including kingfishers, sparrowhawks, swifts, herring gulls and other feathered species, some of which are protected and threatened in Ireland.
Locals believe that the works will fatally damage biodiversity in the area, with a fear that areas along the Poddle river will suffer similarly to the decimation of the wetlands at Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght last year.
Residents say that they were not consulted about the plans, and that flooding problems along the river are due to a lack of maintenance of culverts by Dublin City Council.
The Poddle, AKA 'The Pool' is synonymous with Viking Dublin. Our first protest took on a Viking theme when we were inspired by local creative goddess, Violet Dempsey, community artist. Violet created our banner, dream catchers, Viking longship, Litte Egret and the River Spirit. pic.twitter.com/kpBC9sQqEX— Save the Poddle's Wildlife Sanctuary (@SavePoddle) January 13, 2020
A protest was organised by both the Crumlin Clean-Up Group and the Save the Poddle Wildlife Sanctuary Group last Sunday in Ravensdale Park to highlight the issues at hand, and to clean up the surrounds of the River Poddle.
Dozens of people showed up to the protest, including local councillors and residents.
The groups involved say this is the first protest they will hold to save the spaces around the Poddle River, suggesting more may be possible in the coming weeks and months.
Speaking on behalf of the Save the Poddle Wildlife Sanctuary group, Roisin McAleer said: “Climate injustice is no longer a developing world issue. It is affecting local people here in Dublin 12 and across Ireland.
“For the sake of our children, we have to act now.
“There is very little green space left in Kimmage or Crumlin, there’s nowhere for our kids to play, or to learn about nature, or even anywhere else to see some of the wonderful creatures that live here in this small reserve.
“We are becoming very separated from nature, and council plans to build walls, instead of bridges, further divides people from people and divorces people from nature.
“There are two tragedies here. The first is that hundreds, even thousands of people had no clue about these plans to degrade the environment in which they live.
“The second, that nature and wildlife are forced to suffer and take a backseat because of Man’s recklessness and greed.”