Minister accused of bullying by Leixlip campaigners

St Catherine's Park campaign

Henry Bauress


Henry Bauress


Save  Kildare's St Catherine's Park

The committee handing in the submissions

The Minister for Housing and Urban Development has been accused of bullying by a Leixlip group campaigning to preserve St Catherine’s Park.

In hard hitting statement following indications that the Minister wants changes to the Leixlip Local Area Plan, which threaten the integrity of the regional park, spokesperson for the Save St Catherine's Park Committee, Declan Kenny, said that “what is happening both in Celbridge (Donaghcumper) and here in Leixlip is nothing short of shameful bullying.”

Mr Kenny said that  local government has been steadily eroded and the Fine Gael party have been at the forefront of this.

SEE ALSO: Minister takes action over Celbridge Local Area Plan

He said elected councillors of Kildare voted to amend the Local Area Plan for Leixlip to say that  no road proposal shall be considered by the Council through the St Catherine’s Park within this Council's ownership or jurisdiction.’ Mr Kenny said this was welcome but questioned why it was necessary to rule out a road through one of the province's best regional parks, lying on the borders of north Kildare and Dublin.

Mr Kenny said  the National Transport Authority are now pressurising elected councillors, and the unelected officials,  to put a road through the park.

He said the Department of Transport are also insisting that the local councillors rezone land at Confey for 1,700 houses, despite no proper planning taking place as regards flooding, road access, water, waste, environmental impacts, archaeological studies, etc.

He said  the sensible approach adopted by the elected officials in Kildare was to leave the land zoned as agricultural until such studies took place, and then, and only then, would they consider adopting some form of Confey Masterplan for housing developments.

Mr Kenny said the Save St. Catherine's Park group is about protecting one of the best public amenities in the county. Fingal Councillors agreed to amend their own development plan to remove any reference to a road through the park.

He said  a consultancy firm suggested a road through the park. This would cost a fortune and destroy this wonderful amenity. The plan sparked outrage and the road proposal was quickly withdrawn.”

Mr Kenny said: “What is happening both in Celbridge (Donaghcumper) and here in Leixlip is nothing short of shameful bullying.

He said modern Irish government wishes to run their affairs, and they don't really appreciate it when we, the local people who would seem to live in the real world, have the temerity to disagree with them. Not only is this allowed, it's policy.

He asked people to “get in touch with your councillor and ask them to keep the protection offered to St. Catherine's Park (Material Alteration 31), and secondly, tell them you want to allow the Masterplan for Confey to be examined properly, prior to any rezoning (Material Alteration 2).”