South Dublin County Council in the dock over wetlands destruction

by Padraig Conlon

South Dublin County Council have been accused of a “cop out of the highest order” with their response to the destruction of a wetland area in Tallaght.

In a statement released on Monday, the council said it will immediately review how it disposes of silt drained from lakes, after wetlands in Sean Walsh Park were destroyed.

It is feared the destruction of the area could potentially lead to the deaths thousands of animals, including rare eels and amphibians.

The council said the de-silting and cleaning of the lakes in the area was essential for improving the natural habitat of the park and for flood alleviation.

They also said the drained silt was placed in mounds on an uncultivated area of the park to the north of the wetlands, which it has habitually used for the process in the past, and that following this work, the mounds were levelled.

The Herpetological Society of Ireland (HSI), a group who promote awareness of reptiles & amphibians, discovered the destruction on Saturday as they have been monitoring the area.

The HSI said that the Council’s statement “answers nothing” about the situation and “is a cop-out of the highest order”.

The group also said the statement highlights the Council’s clear “contempt” with which it “holds their communities and green spaces”.

The Green Party Councillors on South Dublin County Council have also condemned what they have called the “wholesale destruction” of the wetland area.

Cllr. Francis Noel Duffy said: “It’s a massive blow for the county in the wake of us declaring a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency on the strength of a Green Party motion that received unanimous support at the last council meeting.”

Cllr. Liam Sinclair said, “This is heartbreaking. During the recent election campaign, I visited the wetlands and learned about their importance; and I lost a breath when I was shown the scenes of destruction there. This is not good enough.”

South Dublin County Council’s “Tallaght Brochure” published this month features the wetlands as part of the development of Sean Walsh Park.

Fianna Fáil Dublin South West TD John Lahart said: “On the day hundreds of thousands of students were marching for climate action, local conservationists in Tallaght discovered the complete destruction by South Dublin County Council of a parcel of wetland in one of its own parks, Sean Walsh Park.

“This was in the week when the Council itself had launched a new Local Area Plan for Tallaght.

“Included in this Action Plan is a recognition of the fact that this park contains a river system and numerous eco-system services benefiting wildlife protection and enhancing human activity.”

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