Fingal’s new Wildflower Meadow and Growing Places Policy has gone down like a lead balloon in communities across the north county as a result of cutbacks in the grass cutting program.
The policy was supposed to involve moving away from simply cutting all of the large grassed areas, to introducing more of a meadow environment with planting of different varieties of flowers and trees to aid biodiversity and develop an interesting and colourful landscape! Nothing wrong with that for parkland areas and roundabouts, but on greens in estates which are the main play areas of young children, it is an entirely different matter.
While greens in the estates were in the main not intended for the Wildflower Meadow pilot scheme, the appalling lack of information from the Council meant that everyone thought that they were when they witnessed their greens growing high, with only the rims, and a kick-about area being cut as a result of cutbacks in grass cutting.
A public outcry has forced a partial U-turn with the frequency of grass cutting being upped from monthly to once in 18 days. This will have to be monitored and the pressure kept on.
The reality is that this scheme is partly motivated by a crucifying burden on the Parks Department as a result of the government embargo on public sector recruitment.
Many staff retired in the section in the past year, and could not be replaced – meanwhile, over 1000 extra acres of open space were taken in charge.
They simply cannot cover all the work that is necessary. This is a direct consequence of government cutbacks and yet a government TD had the neck to issue a leaflet telling residents that he would liaise with the Council on residents’ behalf!!
This is not good enough. I demand, together with my Socialist Party colleagues, proper public services. The recruitment embargo must be lifted and the urgently needed jobs provided to improve standards in our communities.