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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020
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'When you concrete over nature, it's not going to come back'

A group objecting to plans for Dublin’s Hellfire Club is to meet at the site this Sunday.

The view from the Hellfire Club.
The view from the Hellfire Club.
Image: Facebook/SaveTheHellfire

A FAMILY-FRIENDLY protest is being planned for this weekend opposing the ambitious plans for a €19 million visitors’ centre at the Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountains.

Included in the plans for the famous site are a treetop canopy walk and an expansion of car parking facilities.

The plans are supported by Coillte and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has also been supportive of the plans.

But some locals have said that consultation has been inadequate and that they are being kept in the dark about any proposed changes to the plans.

South Dublin County Council have published consultation reports after a number of public meetings but a local group says they do not reflect opinion on the ground.

The Save the Hellfire group has said that it will object to the plans when they are submitted but that they would like to see any revisions to plans before that time.

The group says the scale of the proposals are totally out of step with what’s needed at the site.

“We would like to make sure that a development that is completely out of scale with the size of the mountain doesn’t happen,” says Anna Collins, who lives nearby and is active in the Save the Hellfire group.

“We would like to make sure that no further destruction of the habitats of the woodpecker and red squirrel, which has just made a resurgence in the car park in the Hellfire Club.”

Concept

layout Source: South Dublin County Council

In total the plans cover a 26 hectare area and would also include a footbridge over the road to connect Hellfire and Massy’s forests.

South Dublin City Council has said it has already commenced an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), but this has not eased the concerns of Save the Hellfire.

One of their primary concerns is that trees will be felled to make space for the expanded carpark.

That carpark has been set as the assembly point for this Sunday’s protest with those attending planning to meet there at 1pm.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD and Peadar O’Grady, both of People Before Profit, will be attending the protest as will Independent Senator Frances Black.

It’s planned there’ll be a number speakers at the event with Black also singing at the event which is being advertised as a ‘Walk in the Woods’ for locals.

“We’re very concerned because when you concrete over nature, it’s not going to come back afterwards,” Collins says.

“It’s basically an urbanisation of what is a semi-wilderness, okay it’s managed wilderness but it’s still got lots of bio-diversity, huge bio-diversity.”

Read: Coillte defends controversial Hellfire Club project >

Read: Council plans massive €19m visitors centre and tree top walkway at Hellfire Club >

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Rónán Duffy

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