Press release

Community Gardens to be written into Irish legislation

30th May 2024
Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Spokesperson for Social Protection

The upcoming Planning and Development Bill is to legislate for the provision of community gardens by local authorities throughout the country.

In January 2023, Community Gardens Ireland expressed concern that the bill as initiated no longer included provision of allotments which had been in previous planning bills. Green Party T.D. for Wicklow, Steven Matthews pushed for this to be reinstated with his Green Party colleague, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, T.D. for Waterford, expanding the obligation on local authorities to reserve land for the provision for allotments to include community gardens. This is the first time that community gardens have been defined in Irish legislation.

Speaking today, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said

“I am grateful for Minister of State Alan Dillon and his department’s officials for accepting these amendments from myself and my colleague Deputy Steven Matthews which give legal standing to community gardens in Irish legislation. This Planning and Development Bill is one of the most significant in in the history of the state and as it moves through the Houses of the Oireachtas it is important that we strengthen it in a way that will best reflect the wants and needs of communities.”

“The report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss recognises that "Urban environments have an enormous role to play in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity", as well as "the value of green spaces to populations living in urban environments". The co-benefits of community growing spaces stretch well beyond tackling global warming and biodiversity loss. They include educational, cultural, and physical, mental and social health benefits.”

Research from Community Gardens Ireland, a volunteer network of over 100 community growing spaces, shows that 23% of local authorities do not have a policy or objective for community growing space and 89% do not operate a waiting list for members of a local community requesting a community growing space. Ireland lags well behind other countries in the management and support of community growing spaces, offering far fewer plots per capita than our EU counterparts, which becomes increasingly important as our urban population grows.

The National Strategy for Horticulture 2023 – 2027 includes a commitment to “work with local authorities to implement and support community gardens and allotments to encourage enthusiasm for gardening/growing and promote fresh produce consumption and healthy eating”.

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