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Council confirms it deposited silt on 'destroyed' Tallaght wetlands

An environmentalist working in the area said he was “completely heartbroken” by the wetlands’ destruction.

download (76) Before and after Source: Collie Ennis

SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY Council (SDCC) has said it carried out works in a wetlands area in Tallaght that has left environmentalists outraged.

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.

The Herpetological Society of Ireland (HIS) has been working with the council to survey and protect the area. 

Collie Ennis, a science officer with HIS, said he found the wetlands area destroyed when he went to survey it on Saturday. Ennis told TheJournal.ie he is “completely heartbroken” and that seeing the area flattened was “a punch in the gut” after months of work.

Ennis said that HIS had received assurances from SDCC that the area would be protected. 

“I think it’s a miscommunication, rather than cynical, but it’s just not good enough,” he said. “It’s a totally unnecessary destruction of a really unique habitat.”

TheJournal.ie contacted the council to comment on the matter yesterday and again this morning. This afternoon, it released a statement. 

It said: “As part of a planned process of removing built up silt and illegally dumped rubbish from the man-made lakes in Sean Walsh Park, South Dublin County Council carried out de-silting works during the summer months. 

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

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SDCC said that while in excess of 40 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish was removed from the site, the drained silt was placed in mounds on an “uncultivated area of the park to the north of the wetlands in Sean Walsh Park”. 

“The council has habitually used this area for depositing silt and last did so when carrying out works on the larger lake in 2018,” it said. 

Following these works in Sean Walsh Park, the silt mounds were levelled.  The council will immediately review the practice of the disposal of silt drained from lakes. However, best practice dictates that the material removed is placed as close to the origin as possible. 

The council added it will continue to work to “enhance the wetlands” in the park. 

SDCC management met with councillors this afternoon who have said that the council has committed to issuing a new statement acknowledging that an error was made.

With reporting from Órla Ryan

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Sean Murray

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