SDCC says wetlands was 'miscommunication'

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE spreading of silt in an area of wetlands in Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght last month was as a result of “miscommunication” with an operator who was working on the site, according to South Dublin County Council.

The damage to the wetlands attracted national media attention, after silt was spread on the area, angering local conservationists and environmental activists.

Sean Walsh Park 07 compressor

Council says it has ‘no records of any ecological surveys’ carried out in the Sean Walsh Park area

This week, the council released a report on the matter, where they said excavated material from another lake in the park was to be placed in two long and narrow mounds in an area to the south of the wetlands.

The local authority stated that it “was not the council’s intention to spread the excavated material.

“Regrettably there was miscommunication with the operator in relation to the mounding of the soil.

“The soil excavated from the attenuation pond was extremely wet and when tipped on site it did not stay in upright mounds but instead it spread out to a large extent under its own weight.

“Sifting through the soil mounds led to it being further spread over a larger area than had been identified as acceptable.”

South Dublin County Council also noted in their report that they have “no records of any ecological surveys carried out in this area”, and they refer to the wetlands as “an attenuation pond” because the site “is not a constructed wetland”.

Liam Sinclair, a Green Party councillor for Tallaght Central, told The Echo: “They said that the area is not a wetland because it’s not constructed – but it’s unnecessary for them to define this.

“One of the things that people liked about the wetlands was that it came about by itself.

“They also said that no official ecological surveys had been done, but the people who discovered the site have carried out surveys that were licensed by the Herpetological Society of Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“They acknowledged [that putting silt in the wetlands] was an error, but they haven’t acknowledged the hurt that it has caused.

“I’ve had people, not just from Tallaght or Dublin, but nationally, contacting me about how hurt they are about it.”

Cllr Sinclair said he will be bringing up the issue again at an upcoming meeting of the Tallaght Area Committee, to ascertain what plans are in place to prevent a similar error from happening again, and whether the council will “regenerate” the impacted area.

The council stated that they had engaged a consultant ecologist to assist in carrying out “a detailed examination of the site in question”, and that they were going to examine the potential for the rehabilitation of a habitat at the site and re-colonisation of the area.

An assessment of circa 2.5 acres of land at Sean Walsh Park, including the area subject to the deposition of soil over several years, is also to be carried out.

According to the local authority, a number of assessments and surveys are currently underway at the site, with a view to producing an Ecological Report.

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