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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Oireachtas TV

Investigation into whether frogs, eels and bats were buried alive by silt spread on Tallaght wetlands

Minister Josepha Madigan says she is taking the matter very seriously.

MINISTER JOSEPHA MADIGAN has launched an investigation into allegations that protected species such as frogs, newts, eels and bats were buried alive by South Dublin County Council when silt was spread on an area of wetlands in Tallaght. 

Speaking in the Dáil today, the minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said she will “leave no stone unturned” is establishing the full facts as to what happened. 

“There are an unspecified number of protected species, which is where my interest lies, including frogs, newts, eels and bats which are alleged to have been buried by South Dublin County Council when they spread silt on this area.

“But I have to stress it is an allegation and until I see it established as a fact I have to take it as an allegation,” she said. 

The area, which is located in Sean Walsh Memorial Park, is home to several species of plants and animals, including newts, frogs, bats and the critically endangered European eel.

Collie Ennis, science officer with the Herpetological Society of Ireland, had been working at the wetlands to survey and protect the area. On Saturday, he arrived to find the area destroyed

The council later confirmed that it had deposited silt that “destroyed” the wetlands. 

download-86-2-390x285 Collie Ennis Collie Ennis

Madigan said her department has commenced an investigation into the matter, adding that she has been in touch with the heritage officer, the director of environmental services and the chief executive of the council.

Next week, officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Office will visit the site and report back to the minister. 

Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart said questions need to be answered as to why one arm of the council wasn’t talking to another, stating that it resulted in the “vandalism of a national habitat”.  

Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe said lessons must be learned from the “catastrophe”. 

Madigan said she is taking this issue “very seriously”. 

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