DCC exploring rule change for dogs in St Anne’s ParkGary Ibbotson 28 Oct 2021
Dublin City Council is exploring the idea of implementing a policy where all dogs must be on leads at all times in the core area of St Anne’s Park.
Under the policy, dogs would be allowed to be off lead in other areas of the park as long as they are “in effective control” of their owner.
This would be a change from the current ruling where dogs are allowed roam free before 11am and in the last hour of the park’s opening times in any section of the park.
The council says it will be consulting with dog owners and non-dog owners who use the park before making a final decision.
In a report on the proposal, the council said that “the reasoning behind this change is that St. Anne’s Park serves a huge and diverse local, and indeed more distant population.
It “has a significant cohort of visitors who are older, frailer, who may have visual or mobility difficulties and are perhaps just not comfortable or fearful around dogs as are many autistic children.
“The rationale that dogs can be exercised off leads before 11am but not afterwards is rather arbitrary and could be considered to be somewhat counterintuitive as often more vulnerable and frail visitors to the park would prefer to visit the park earlier in the morning when the park is less busy,” it says.
Fianna Fail councillor Deirdre Heney who supports the move says the policy will benefit all park users.
“I have been asking for this for some time now and it was generally welcomed by majority of Councillors,” she says.
“I have been pressing for the introduction of the change because of the large and variety of park users, young and not so young, some who love their dogs and want them to be allowed off lead, and other users, who prefer dogs were on lead at all times.
“The proposal includes allowing dogs off lead (and under effective control) at all times in 77.5 hectares of the park and an ‘on lead at all times’ area in 21.9 hectares of the park,” Heney says.
“The ‘on lead at all times’ areas will allow people (including some dog owners) who are uncomfortable or nervous of dogs off lead, to enjoy the park in areas where dogs will be required to be on lead at all times.
“This is a positive proposal and I look forward to the next step of the process which is consultation with all users of our beautiful St. Anne’s Park.”
Green Party councillor for the area, Donna Cooney also supports the proposal, says the current rules are “not effective.”
“The idea is rather than time limits, dogs can be off lead at all times if under effective care of their owner outside the central core of the park,” she says.
“The before 11am rule limited many people and it was not effective.
“Parks [department] initiated this plan surveying dog owners and the general public and this solution was arrived at.
“The entrance paths to the centre core will clearly show when you are entering a dog on a lead area,” Cooney says.
The proposal has been met with widespread approval from local councillors with Cooney saying she “thought it was an excellent idea.
“Some dog owners had difficulty in the enclosed dog areas provided in the park and prefer to walk freely about the large park with their dogs off lead, where they can run, play and exercise.”