Farmers in Glenasmole, near Tallaght in Dublin, are campaigning for the installation of cattle grids to prevent their sheep from wandering off commonage areas onto lower land and into residents’ gardens.

“Our sheep graze on commonage land and there are four roads running through it – Cunard Road Upper; Cunard Hill Road; Pipperstown Road; and Military Road – that lead to lower fenced land,” said local farmer, Donie Anderson.

“The sheep are continually going down from the commonage to the lower land. Years ago there were gates on these roads that stopped sheep and cattle from getting out. When the traffic got heavier, these gates were taken out.”

It has been an ongoing issue for the past 30 years, Donie said. A deputation met South Dublin County Council over a year ago, he added.

“The commonage is now national parkland and nobody can do anything with the roads except South Dublin County Council,” Donie said. Tallaght Community Council was involved in another deputation, he added, which recently went into the local authority and reiterated the need for cattle grids.

“The good news that we got is that the local authority has set up a working group on the issue which is a big step forward. While South Dublin County Council has concerns about the feasibility of grids due to the amount of traffic and cyclists in the area, they have been installed in other places.

“Cattle grids have been installed near the Curragh; The Heath, Portlaoise; Mount Leinster; Tipperary and Waterford. They are also in the Isle of Man and Scotland,” Donie said.

A British standard for cattle grids has now been identified and that is being investigated.

Donie said that the farmers recognise that the region is a high-amenity area and they welcome recreational users – provided they follow the countryside code and respect the rights of people who live and work in the countryside round the clock.

“We know that we are only custodians of the land for a short time and just want to carry on the good work of our ancestors in keeping the hills as they have been for generations,” he said.

At present, the absence of cattle grids is causing sheep farmers a lot of trouble every day. We have the support of both local and national groups, including local public representatives, in our campaign, and we really appreciate their ongoing support.

“Some other counties with similar problems are also asking their local authorities to install cattle grids in their areas.”