Dog Own­ers’ Group Bal­brig­gan Har­bour get ‘off-leash’ win

Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

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)

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