Decision to close Merlin Park allotments criticised

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Galway Daily news City Council invites applications to lease allotments

The decision to close the allotments at Merlin Park Woods as part of the Covid-19 pandemic response has drawn sharp criticism.

People Before Profit Galway said that the city council should not have closed the allotments as social distancing is easily adhered to on each 50sqm allotment.

PBP Galway activist Conor Dowd said that these allotments provide “urban dwellers” with a space to directly engage in food production.

He added that this has multiple benefits, including saving trips to the supermarket, and its “therapeutic” value to person tending the allotment.

“Individuals seeking an alternative to food produced by agribusiness should be encouraged, not cut off from their small parcel of land.”

The decision not to recognise people’s activities on allotments as food production “speaks volumes” about the attitudes of those in power Conor said, accusing the council and Fine Gael of only recognising processes that are part of the “capitalist market economy”.

He added that while the decision to close allotments around Ireland may ultimately have come from the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, there is a grey area for interpretation of that directive at different levels of the decision making process.

PBP says that the city council should take a “common sense” interpretation of food production as an activity to allow allotment holders to continue work.