Locals appeal plan to fell 1930s trees over wheelchair access

Residents say lime trees can stay if council repairs and properly maintains footpaths

Lime trees on St Canice’s Road in Dublin,  planted in the early 1930s, are among the “largest in the Irish landscape”, Dublin City Council  said,	and line “very narrow footpaths with inadequate rooting capacity and beneath overhead services”. Photograph:  Tom Honan

Lime trees on St Canice’s Road in Dublin, planted in the early 1930s, are among the “largest in the Irish landscape”, Dublin City Council said, and line “very narrow footpaths with inadequate rooting capacity and beneath overhead services”. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Residents of Glasnevin in north Dublin have appealed to Dublin City Council not to fell 90-year-old trees that the local authority said are living in a “hostile environment”.

The council plans to fell the mature lime trees on St Canice’s Road following complaints from a wheelchair user in relation to the condition of the footpath surrounding the trees and the difficulties in access which the trees cause.

However, residents said the trees could be retained if the council repaired and properly maintained the footpaths.

The lime trees, which were planted in the early 1930s, are among the “largest in the Irish landscape”, the council said, and line “very narrow footpaths with inadequate rooting capacity and beneath overhead services”.

As a result, the trees are living in a “hostile environment” and “unsurprisingly they are now exhibiting signs of decline, including die-back, decay and cavities”, the council said.

Large tree roots

“Also the footpaths are in terrible condition due to the large tree roots in the narrow footpath. While these trees certainly have stature and presence, they are not actually in great condition and a number are unbalanced and leaning.”

The council initially plans to remove six trees but said many of the other trees on the road are not in great condition.

“These trees have a limited safe useful life expectancy and will most likely have to be replaced over the medium term,” it said.

The decision to remove the trees came, the council said, after “considerable thought, consideration and compromise”. It said it would replant some smaller trees.

However, some residents believe the trees should be retained.

“The issue is not with the trees but with the badly unrepaired paths,” resident Paul Guy said. “Given concerns over climate change, destruction of ecosystems etc, and in line with Dublin City Council’s own tree strategy, removal of trees should be the very last resort – and not an alternative for proper maintenance,” he said.

Local Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy said she would be asking the council to reconsider their plans.

“The paths are in a shocking state, but I still hope another solution can be found. Yes, the trees are old, but I don’t think they need to be felled,” she said.

“It would be a very drastic step, we should be holding on to older trees for their environmental and their mental health benefits,” she said.