€400k NAMA deal 'threatens bird sanctuary'
CONSERVATION groups and councillors are furious at a decision to sell land beside a nature reserve on Dublin's Southside to a private developer.
They have accused NAMA of "disregarding public concerns" by denying both Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown Council the opportunity of buying the Ashcastle site next to the Booterstown Marsh Bird Sanctuary.
The 4.86-acre site will instead be sold to a private developer who has offered €400,000 - double the amount put forward by the local authorities.
Rebecca Jeffares, of the Booterstown Nature Reserve Management Committee of An Taisce, said locals were "extremely disappointed and annoyed with the decision".
She told the Herald she had been campaigning for both councils to buy the land in order to preserve it for public use.
She said both councils wanted to develop the site into a wildlife park that would have coincided with the nearby bird sanctuary.
"We are disgusted to say the least," she said. "NAMA have totally disregarded the public's interests. The surrounding areas are protected areas and we have no idea what the land will be used for now. People are angry about this because the land is vital as it surrounds an environmentally sensitive site."
Similarly, Niall Hatch of Birdwatch Ireland said he would be "very concerned" about any development taking place so close to the sanctuary.
"There's no doubt that activity in the area could ostracise wildlife. We would hope that the right safeguards are put in place prior to any development taking place," he said.
The land, which was once used as a helicopter landing pad by developer Bernard McNamara, was sold by receivers RSM Farrell Grant Sparks on behalf of NAMA through Jones Lang La Salle.
NAMA officials agreed the €400,000 deal in an attempt to rein in as much money as possible for the taxpayer.
Meanwhile, Cllr Barry Ward (FG) said there was a widespread fear that the developers could acquire the land.
"Any major developments could ruin visual amenities surrounding the foreshore," he said.