Councillors vote to ban weedkiller glyphosate from parks and playgrounds

By Mary Dennehy

SOUTH Dublin County Council has unanimously voted in favour of banning the use of controversial weedkiller glyphosate in public parks, playgrounds and gardens.

Glyphosate is used right across the country by local authorities, businesses, farmers and home-owners, with the chemical mainly used by South Dublin County Council to kill weeds growing along grass verges and around lamp-posts and other hard-to-reach places for the council’s lawnmowers.

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This is not the first time that glyphosate, which is the key ingredient in Roundup, has been discussed in council chambers, with Independent councillor Dermot Looney and Renua councillor Ronan McMahon asking council management in 2015 to report on the potential dangers of the chemical.

This month, glyphosate was back on the agenda after Templeogue Terenure councillor Enda Fanning (Sinn Féin) tabled a motion calling on the council to ban the use of the chemical in or close to public parks, playgrounds or community gardens.

Speaking with The Echo after his motion was passed, Cllr Fanning said: “The back and forth of reports into glyphosate has been ongoing in Europe for some time and it’s all very complicated.

“In my own mind, this all harps back to asbestos, which was all grand and all legal, but years later we had a lot of reports of illnesses and ill-health.

“I am suspicious about the whole thing and I think as a council we should act on the side of precaution.”

He added: “I would be hoping that glyphosate would be banned totally, but that will require national regulation.

“However, I welcome South Dublin County Council voting to ban the use of the chemical in the public areas listed in my motion, and hopefully this can be the first step in banning it right across South Dublin County.

“I also hope it is a step in making this a national issue and raising awareness at a national level.”

In its reply, council management said that the European Commission made a decision in January 2017 to register a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) relating to targeting a ban on glyphosate.

The ECI proposes to member states “a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use”.

According to the council: “European Citizens Initiatives were introduced with the Lisbon Treaty in 2012, with the aim of giving citizens a direct mechanism to propose change.

“The Commission registered the above ECI and now formally recognises it.

“The ECI concerned has a period of one year to collect at least 1 million signatures of EU citizens from at least seven member states after which the commission must react within a three-month period.”

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