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22nd February 2019 | Environment, Press Releases

STOP THE FELLING: Green Party call on Minister Madigan to intervene to stop the surge of tree felling happening across the country

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The Green Party have contacted Minister Josepha Madigan to explain and stop the spate of tree felling that is being reported around the country.

This comes as it has been reported that a number of Gardaí were deployed to oversee tree felling in one housing estate in Waterford as it was being protested by locals.

Green Party activists around the country, for the last number of weeks, have reported the felling of mature trees by city and county councils far above normal levels.

This has been done without consultation and against the will of local people and has generated substantial local anger.

Reports of significant tree felling are coming from Waterford, Cork City, Tipperary, Limerick, Westmeath, Mayo, Crumlin, Finglas, Donebate, and other parts of Dublin.

Senator Grace O’Sullivan, MEP candidate for Ireland South, said:

“No one objects to trees being cut for safety reasons but what we are seeing is a scale of tree felling that goes far beyond that.
“Beautiful mature trees that have improved local areas and provided much needed habitat for wildlife are being ripped out at alarming rates. Meanwhile, in other areas we are hearing about the expensive roll out of large non-native species in new plantings, without consideration or seemingly any semblance of a coherent approach.

“What is even more disturbing is the report this morning of gardaí being deployed to deal with local people who don’t want their trees removed. If this is the case it was aggressive, unnecessary and a poor use of police resources. Let me be clear, if a community are happy with their local trees and they pose no safety risk then a local council should not have the right to unilaterally remove them.

“We have to see nature as something to weave into our local communities, something to foster and protect. Not something that we can just destroy on a whim.

“We have just heard from the National Biodiversity Conference that the collapse of nature is happening all around us we need to cherish every bit of it. That is why my office have contacted the minister to demand a national biodiversity strategy, resourced and legally protected, to add some coherence to local authority and central government practice in this area. The work is done already by the National Biodiversity Centre, what’s needed is some effort from government beyond suggesting bird boxes. We are calling on her to stop this wanton felling until we get to the bottom of why it is happening at such scale.”

Senator O’Sullivan has written to Minister Madigan as Minister of Heritage to demand a coherent and coordinated national approach to such matters, and legal and scientifically based guidelines for Councils to ensure that Ireland’s natural biodiversity is preserved while community wishes are respected.