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Pat Kenny opposes ‘killing’ badger family to build a nursing home

Pat Kenny has opposed “killing” a badger family to build a nursing home.

The broadcaster lodged an objection against the Bartra Capital two-to-five storey nursing home, which is set to be developed on a site adjacent to his home in Dalkey.

The 73-year-old claimed that the “straightforward commercially driven enterprise cannot justify killing the badgers of Bulloch Harbour”.

Pat Kenny and wife Kathy / Picture Andres Poveda

Earlier this year, Pat, his wife Kathy and over 30 other households in Dalkey were successful in opposing a previous application by Bartra for a nursing home on the same site – after Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council refused the application on numerous grounds.

Bartra appealed that refusal decision to An Bord Pleanala, but withdrew the appeal days later and instead lodged the new application which is now back before the Council.

In the new objection, the Kenny family stated that they are “mystified” as to why Bartra withdrew the appeal and submitted a very similiar planning application to the Council.

Picture: Cathal Burke / VIPIRELAND.COM

Bartra hired experts to carry out a Ground Penetrating Radar (GDP) survey to determine the scale of an underground badger sett complex identified by three entrances on the proposed development site.

A Badger Conservation Plan lodged with the application says that once proposed mitigation measures have been implemented for the local badgers, the proposed nursing home “will not have a significant impact on the (badger) sett structure”.

The conservation plan also recommends that no work should take place in the 30 metre badger sett protection zone between December and June.

Picture: G. McDonnell / VIPIRELAND.COM

The Badger Conservation Plan said that the proposed nursing home plan was modified to move construction activities away from the badger sett and the full southern area of the site.

Pat and his wife disagreed with the conclusions of the conservation plan, and claim in their objection that “what is proposed by the applicants as mitigation (of the badger sett) will result in extermination”.

The couple highlighted the fact that badgers are a protected species, adding: “Given that there are no mitigation measures that can protect this sett, we ask that the proposal be turned down on the specific grounds of the Wildlife Protection measures enshrined in law and in the Bern Convention to which Ireland is a signatory.”

Pictures: Cathal Burke / VIPIRELAND.COM

Pat and Kathy said that the excavation for the planned nursing home building at the southern end of the site would destroy the sett “and with it, the badger family”.

The Kennys added that badgers have been within the grounds of their home for over 20 years, and that they have bred successfully this year.

“During this time, we have let them be and kept an eye on them. We have been rewarded over the years with the sight of young badger cubs playing,” they said. “It is not just our family, but the entire neighbourhood, particularly the children, who enjoy these shy nocturnal creatures.”

Pictures: G. McDonnell / VIPIRELAND.COM

Pat and Kathy also stated that any destruction of the badger sett would be “cruel and unconscionable.”

Responding to the applications reference to the creation of an artificial sett, the couple claimed they are “rarely, if ever, successful”.

“The technique requires the existing sett to be blocked off and the badgers, unable to return to their home, are lured by bait to the newly build artificial sett. In this case, closing off the sett entrance would require entrance to our property, which in any circumstance, we are not prepared to permit.”

Picture: Cathal Burke / VIPIRELAND.COM

In the new objection, the Kennys claimed that if permitted, the proposed nursing home would detrimentally impact on their home “and other residential properties in the area”.

“It would also set a precedent that could ultimately damage the character of the Bulloch Harbour area,” they said.

A decision on the application is due next month.

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