Local Councillor Alan Edge has called for a right to reply for the Save the Hellfire campaigners after South Dublin Co Co confirmed that the additional information sought by An Bord Pleanala in relation to the proposed Dublin Mountain Visitor Centre had now been received. Stating his opposition to the project, Cllr Edge said, ‘It’s a fallacy to think that you need a €15 million development in order to enjoy the beauty of nature’, adding that improvements in parking facilities and other amenities could be made without resorting to such a large-scale development. Following an oral hearing in 2018, the board found that the assessments carried out on behalf of Coillte and South Dublin County Council were inappropriate in a number of respects. Specifically, they were tasked to carry out a fuller survey of merlin, a migratory bird; to provide greater detail about the impact of increased visitor numbers on vegetation and habitats and to prepare more detailed surveys and monitoring of biodiversity in the surrounding area.
The full contents of the new information have not yet been made available but Cllr Edge welcomed the Council’s indication that they would be published as soon as An Board Pleanala direct them to do so, hopefully by mid January. Cllr Edge praised the campaign mounted by Save the Hellfire born out of love for the landscape and its wildlife and expressed the fervent hope that the right to reply would be given to them. ‘They have worked tirelessly and in difficult circumstances which included a gross misuse of the powers of the Standards in Public Office Commission’. He supported calls from fellow councillors from across the political spectrum for a full discussion of this issue in the Chamber and a rethink of the drastic scale of the proposal.