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Matthews meets with representatives from Community Gardens Ireland

Date: 2 March 2022

I was delighted to able to invite Donal McCormack from Blessington Allotments and Chairperson of Community Gardens Ireland and Meave Foreman from Dublin City North community garden to attend our Oireachtas committee to discuss how we can improve access and provide for allotments and community growing spaces in our towns and villages.

I have been engaged with the Blessington Allotments group for the past few years to seek a suitable location and was recently invited to see their allotments near Manor Kilbride in Wicklow.

In 2008 as a Bray Town Councillor I was involved with a Greystones and Bray group where we sought to create community gardening and allotment opportunities in North Wicklow. Out of that group work we liaised with Festina Lente in Bray to establish allotments and the setting up of the community garden in Greystones.

These are wonderful opportunities to bring communities together and across all ages to share their knowledge on growing. Community gardens and allotments contribute to biodiversity and provide positive impacts on physical and mental health as well as educational, cultural, and social gains.

However, the current legislation around provision of growing spaces is weak and confusing, and it is quite difficult for groups to set up and acquire land from local authorities.

Following the committee meeting yesterday I was tasked with drawing up a list of recommendations for the Oireachtas committee. The intention now is to liaise with Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister Malcom Noonan on how best to equip our local authorities and enable them to provide for allotments and community gardens.



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