I express my appreciation to the Ceann Comhairle for facilitating me and my constituency colleague, Deputy Crowe, in raising this issue and thank the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Madigan, for taking the question.
I do not intend to engage in any drama about the matter with the Minister. The case is well known and what happened in Seán Walsh Memorial Park has been well outlined in traditional and social media in recent days. My party leader raised the issue of the same wetlands in the House yesterday when he called for an inquiry into the matter, to which the Minister responded. It is now time to move to the next stage beyond what was justifiable outrage, anger, disappointment and frustration at what had happened in Seán Walsh Memorial Park. It is time to move to a more actionable response to determine exactly what response can be made at both central and local government level.
My colleagues on South Dublin County Council raised the matter at the meeting of the Tallaght area committee on Monday. It was interesting because, unlike in the press release issued by the council, the council officials seemed to fess up to the fact that what had happened was a poor case of miscommunications and a mistake. They were asked to reflect this in a fresh press release, although that did not happen. The incident shows the best and worst sides of the council. On the one hand, the heritage side of the council demonstrated great enthusiasm and concrete, practical support for what was happening on the wetlands and in the reserve area, whereas on the other side of the council, it was clear that there was complete ignorance of what was happening. That needs to be addressed. If a local authority wants to retain the aura of authority with the public it serves, in this case the people of south County Dublin, it must act, particularly in this case, with a degree of transparency and integrity in bringing to the fore what exactly happened. It has to state it screwed up. That would be better than hiding behind a banal press release. It is the very least the public in south County Dublin can expect.