SOUTH Dublin County Council are still using controversial weedkiller glyphosate, despite concerns that it represents a cancer risk and is damaging to biodiversity.
People Before Profit Councillor Madeleine Johansson said she has “serious concerns” after she was recently contacted by a council staff member who claims that public realm staff are still being encouraged to use glyphosate.
According to Councillor Johansson the staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, raised concerns about the use of the weed killer in public areas with ‘no regard for the effects on the public of this possibly carcinogenic chemical.’
In May 2017 a motion was passed by councillors to stop the use of glyphosate by the council, and in 2019 the council stated that its own staff no longer used this chemical.
“I’m very concerned about the information I have received from a staff member about the continued use of glyphosate,” Councillor Johansson told Southside People.
“This chemical is a possible carcinogenic and should not be used in public spaces.
“It also has a damaging effect on the general environment because it kills plants that are beneficial to biodiversity.
“In a question I asked about the use of glyphosate in July 2019 the council stated that it no longer uses glyphosate where weed control is done by directly employed staff. If the council has gone back to using this chemical that is extremely concerning.
“I have contacted the council about this issue and am waiting for a reply.”
Southside People contacted South Dublin County Council and asked them were they aware that glyphosate is still being used by public realm staff.
SDCC Senior Engineer Leo Magee, told us the following:
“The elected members of South Dublin County Council adopted a motion which called for ‘the banning of any use of glyphosate in or close to public parks, public playgrounds and public gardens’.
“The Council has continued to implement this partial ban on the use of glyphosate based weedkiller and these chemicals are no longer in use in public parks, gardens or playgrounds in the County.
“South Dublin County Council continues to implement measures to control weeds in other locations, such as along public roads, which involve the use of glyphosate to do so as no effective alternative has been found to date.
“It has also been necessary to continue to use glyphosate in the Council’s efforts to control invasive alien species including Japanese Knotweed.
“The Council has trialled the use of some alternative non-glyphosate weedkillers and has participated as an observer in trials of alternative weed control techniques such as hot water or hot foam that have been run by other local authorities, however none of these alternatives have been found to be effective in the control of weeds.
“The changes implemented in parks and playgrounds have resulted in a substantial reduction in the quantity of weedkiller being used by this Council.
“The Council will continue to implement measures and actions which are set down in it’s Pollinator Plan with the aim of reducing the use of pesticides.
“Efforts will also continue to identify alternative methods and products which can be used in the control of weeds.”