5,000 new trees is only the beginning of bringing more arboreal splendour to cities


Residents of west Dublin awake today to a gift of 5,000 mostly native Irish trees planted to mark the start of National Tree Week.

A team of 500 volunteers spent yesterday planting the trees at Tymon Park, Tallaght. Residents were drafted in during the last few hours to ensure the Bord Gais Plantathon was completed.

The project aims to increase awareness of the need for tree-planting in urban areas and is supported by South Dublin County Council and Conservation Volunteers Ireland and is part of the Millennium Urban Forest Campaign, which hopes to plant 50,000 trees in Dublin by 2000. Deciduous trees - mainly oak, beech, rowan and larch - are being planted.

With the Celtic Tiger driving construction in urban areas, it was in everyone's interest to maintain and develop urban forests to ensure that Irish cities do not become concrete jungles, said the Bord Gais chairman, Dr Michael Conlon. The trees would provide "a lasting environmental legacy for future generations".

The Irish forestry board, Coillte, with Pitney Bowes, the main sponsor of the week, is distributing thousands of trees to local authorities which, in turn, will be giving them to communities and schools.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the many positive attributes of trees and the huge contribution they make to the environment," Coillte's chief executive, Mr Martin Lowery, said.

To coincide with National Tree Week, the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, Dr Woods, will today launch one of the biggest mixed-media education initiatives in Ireland. The £300,000 project, comprising an interactive CD and printed resource pack, aims to teach young people about trees and forestry.