South Dublin County Council will issue a new statement on the destruction of a wetland area in Tallaght admitting that it was wrong to spread silt from a nearby pond on the urban biodiversity hotspot.
The Herpetological Society of Ireland (HSI) discovered on Saturday that a wetland area it was monitoring in Sean Walsh Memorial Park was completely covered over with mud and silt and levelled off.
The former waste ground and dumpsite regenerated naturally over many years and was, until the weekend, bursting with wildlife including protected newts, frogs, bats and the critically endangered European eel.
Earlier today, the Council said that the dumping of material on the site was “part of a planned process” to remove silt and illegally dumped rubbish from man-made lakes in the park.
While the Council said that it would “immediately review” the practice of silt disposal, best practice “dictates that the material removed is placed as close to the origin as possible”.
The HSI said that the statement was a “cop-out of the highest order” and “answers nothing” about what actually happened and how the Council intends to rectify the situation.
A mistake was made
A meeting was held by the Tallaght Area Committee this afternoon, after which the chair Councillor Mick Duff said that the Council admitted the spreading of silt was “a mistake and agreed to issue a new statement outlining events”.
“South Dublin County Council have agreed, at the demand of the Tallaght Area Committee, to issue a new statement, admitting it was wrong and outlining what they will do to rectify the situation. Officials were very clear that they made a mistake,” he said on Twitter.
Green Party Councillor Liam Sinclair, who also attended the meeting, said that he was “disappointed” by the Council’s first statement that failed to “acknowledge the importance of the area”.
He added that the statement was a “missed opportunity” to engage locals on the issue and that it was “unnecessary for the Council to try and defend themselves”.
“Like lots of residents around the area, [I] was heartbroken when I saw the images on Twitter, it was like getting a blow to the solar plexus,” he said.
“What we’re looking for now from the Council is how this was allowed to happen… and we want guarantees and an idea right away about what steps are going to be put in place to ensure that this remains a wetlands area and whatever investment that is required to ensure that happens is put in place,” he added.