Dog Owners’ Group Balbriggan Harbour get ‘off-leash’ win
A new Fingal Dog Owners Group is to meet with council officials to discuss moving the designated ‘off-leash’ areas of Ward River Valley Park.
Cllr Darragh Butler (FF), on behalf of the group, asked the council to consider the move and suggested two areas that might be suitable in the park.
Cllr Butler said the group had concerns about the area originally allocated for offleash activity and had come up with an alternative suggestion.
He said that one of the areas, incorporated some of the river as dog owners liked to be able to let their dogs into the river fro a paddle.
The two areas would be fenced off simply to identify it as a separate area for off-leash activity.
Cllr Gráinne Maguire welcomed the establishment of the new group for ‘responsible dog owners’ and said it would help arrive at solutions that ‘worked for everybody’ -- both for dog owners, and those nervous of dogs.
Cllr Joe Newman (NP) who joined Cllr Butler and council officials on a recent walk through the park, to show officials the areas suggested by the new group said he was glad that the council has agreed to meet with the dog owners’ group.
He said the establishment of the group would help the ‘self-polcing’ of new bye- laws separating on and off-leash areas in our public parks in Fingal.
Cllr Duncan Smith welcomed the establishment of the group and the council’s commitment to work with it.
He said it was necessary to ‘take a flexible approach’ to the new bye-laws.
Cllr Eugene Coppinger (Sol) echoned those sentiments.
Despite having had some bad experience of children and grandchildren being attacked by dogs in public parks, Cllr Anne Devitt also welcomed the move.
She said that the group’s request to move the area for off-leash activity was a ‘reasonable’ one and she had no difficulty with having designated off-leash areas in parks as long as they were clearly separated from the rest of the park.
Cllr Butler’s motion to have the council move the off-leash area in the Ward River Valley Park also had the vocal support of Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF) and Cllr Tony Murphy (IA).
Council official, Mick Carroll accepted that the original suggested location for the off-leash area in the park was ‘not universally accepted’.
He said that the new areas identified, collectively measured about four acres and were accessible from both sides of the park.
He said that while the areas would be fenced off, the fencing would be basic and these would not be ‘cages’ but simply areas clearly separated from the rest of the park.
The off-leash areas would also be open as long as the park is open with no extra time restrictions on their use, he said.
In a written response to Cllr Butler’s motion the council agreed to the proposal to move the off-leash area to the two sites identified by the new Fingal Dog Walkers’ Group.
The move was unanimously backed by councillors on the Balbriggan/swords Area Committee. THE council has given an update on measures it has taken in an effort to keep Balbriggan Harbour tidy.
Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) asked the council to engage with the Harbour Committee on the issue.
In response, the local authority stated: ‘Fingal Operations Department facilitated the removal of abandoned equipment through the provision of a number of skips during 2018 and ongoing maintenance will continue across the harbour as necessary.’
Cllr Darragh Butler (FF)