Dodder Day Clean-Up

Pictured: Victoria White and John Lacey organisers of the Dodder Action Day.

Pictured: Victoria White and John Lacey organisers of the Dodder Action Day.

The group Dodder Action conducted their annual Dodder Day clean-up on April 18th. This is the third year of the event, which focusses on an attempt to build a community along the whole river.

The main meeting points for volunteer groups along the river were Milltown, Orwell Road, Firhouse, Rathfarnham, Whitestown Stream in Tallaght, Knocklyon, Oldbawn and Dubin 4’s Donnybrook Bridge and Herbert Park.

Dodder Action was initially founded to improve facilities and amenities along the length of the river, due to the sorry state the river found itself in. In 2010 members of the Irish Green Party and local residents organized clean-ups of the river on 12 weekends from Firhouse to Clonskeagh, mobilized by Kevin Dennehy. The chairman of the group is John Lacey, an engineer by trade. Each annual event attracts approximately 200 volunteers each year.

NewsFour sat down to speak to Victoria White, spokesperson for Dodder Action, about the details of the clean-up and the legitimate concerns that Dodder bank residents have about the abuse of one of Dublin’s most renowned natural resources.

“Since we’ve started, we’ve taken about a thousand bags out of the river,” Victoria said. “We got a lot of publicity in the first year because the river was in such a state. We’ve been joined by bucketloads of people, all shapes and forms and all political opinions.”

Victoria stated that Dodder Action have several future plans to improve the state of the river, but there are many strategic issues that must be dealt with first. ROD Transportation are developing a Dodder River Cycleway along the river route, but the condition of the river must be sorted out before the plan can fully materialise.

The Milltown bottle bank backs down directly onto the river, while there is a dump on the grounds of Bohernabreena that has often breached in the past, gushing old clothes into the river. Circumstances like those aforementioned have led Victoria to believe that a river authority with authentic power is what the Dodder needs.

“We don’t have the power to put bins in,” Victoria continued. “We can only agitate. Some of the bins along the banks are just foul. You need proper divided bins that promote recycling. It’s absolutely shocking that this happens in the middle of Dublin 4 in a first-world city.”

Dodder Action are attempting to promote cooperation between the Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin County councils. The group started an art and photography competition, exhibited in Ballyroan Library in Rathfarnham from May 6th to May 30th and based on respect for the protection of the Dodder.

The group also engaged in an ecology walk on May 9th with a representative from Irish Wildlife Trust, with all three councils involved, with a walk of the proposed Dodder greenway set for May 23rd.

Dublin City Council have also partnered with the group to remove certain species of plant from the river, as several types are not native to the local ecology and could potentially disrupt the environment.

By Craig Kinsella