‘Mugs’ will ‘disband’ if development goes ahead

By Mary Dennehy

A COMMUNITY-led group instrumental in Sean Walsh Park receiving its Green Flag has revealed that it will “disband” if councillors vote in favour of building apartments within the confines of the Tallaght park.

South Dublin County Council has proposed the development of an 81-unit older persons’ housing scheme on the site of its current depot at Sean Walsh Park, which lies beside Tallaght Stadium.

Stadium 2

An artist impression of the 81-unit older persons' housing plan

The urban farm and two small community gardens, which also lie on the site, are expected to be levelled alongside the depo.

The proposed development, which is open for public submissions until this Friday, November 9, provides for 18 two-bed homes and 63 one-beds, which will be housed across a series of two to four storey blocks.

In recent weeks, the Litter Mugs, a community led group of volunteers who carry out regular clean-ups in Sean Walsh Park, have voiced their objection to the proposed development – and started an online petition.

Now, the group, which has worked alongside South Dublin County Council in building Sean Walsh Park into an award-winning, Green Flag facility, has announced that it will “disband” if a majority of councillors vote in favour of the proposal.

In its statement, the Litter Mugs said: “After a huge amount of soul searching we have decided to disband the Litter Mugs if a majority of the SDCC councillors vote in favour of building any apartments or houses within the confines of Sean Walsh Park.

“We surely would be complete ‘Mugs’ if we continued our efforts after such a kick in the teeth.

“Our view is that if the council and councillors do not care about the long term future of the park then we would be wasting our time.”

The statement added: “One of the criteria used to determine if the park maintains its flag is the active involvement by the local community.

“The council will have to look elsewhere as the Litter Mugs will not be providing that.

“As a signal of our intent we are suspending the clean-up event scheduled for 24 November until we have absolute clarity on the voting intentions of our councillors.

“So over to you, the fate of our park and of the Litter Mugs lies in your hands.”

Some of the reasons people are being asked by the Litter Mugs to Vote No to the proposed development is the loss of the depot, which will “severely erode” the ability to maintain the high standards within the park, alongside the loss of the urban farm, a 200-year-old bridge and two socially inclusive community gardens.

As the Litter Mugs and Tallaght Community Council continue to lobby against the proposed development, a number of other community-based campaigns have started.

In recent days, a number of leaflets have been posted into the doors of neighbouring estates asking people to ‘help save Sean Walsh Park’.

These leaflets have been created by residents living in the local area.

Alongside citing some of the reasons highlighted by the Litter Mugs, questions are also being raised around pedestrian safety and increased traffic at the development’s Whitestown Way entrance.

The felling of trees and removal of old hedgerows has also been raised as a concern and the impact this could have on nesting birds and the habitats of other wildlife within the park, including bats.

The St Martin’s Residents’ Association, which represents more than 400 households, is also lodging a submission against the proposal.

In an earlier interview with The Echo, a spokesperson for the council said that three housing schemes are planned for Tallaght with the aim of providing suitable and supported accommodation for older residents looking to downsize – which would free up three-bed homes for families on the housing list.

The three sites chosen, which include the Sean Walsh Park depot and Maplewood and Fernwood in Springfield, were deemed suitable due to their close proximity to public transport, shops, health facilities, including Tallaght University Hospital, and other community services.

The two Springfield developments were recently passed by councillors.

Make a submission

For further details and drawings of the council’s proposal or to make a submission by this Friday, November 9 visit https://consult.sdublincoco.ie.

Written submissions can be made in writing to Senior Executive Officer, Housing Department, South Dublin County Council, County Hall, Tallaght, Dublin.

Online submissions can be made up until midnight on Friday, November 9, while writing submissions must be with the council by 4.30pm on Friday.

To read the Save Our Green Flag Park petition visit my.uplift.ie or visit the Tallaght Litter Mugs Facebook page.

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