Residents ‘devastated’ by felling of trees, letters to councils show

‘Is it not evident that the world needs trees more than ever? Why cut them down?’

The removal of  nine trees in Fethard was part of a ‘footpath renewal programme’, says Tipperary County Council.  Photograph: iStock

The removal of nine trees in Fethard was part of a ‘footpath renewal programme’, says Tipperary County Council. Photograph: iStock

 

Local residents said they were “absolutely devastated” and in “complete shock” over the removal of trees near their homes, letters sent to local authorities show.

In March, Tipperary County Council decided to fell nine 20-year-old acer, lime and cherry trees in Fethard.

The removal was part of a “footpath renewal programme” which aimed to remove trip hazards, the council said. The trees were later replaced with other species.

Following the removal of the nine trees, locals sent letters of complaint, obtained by The Irish Times under Freedom of Information.

One resident said she was sending in the complaint “to express my horror and disgust at the butchering of beautiful trees in my native home Fethard”.

Another resident said the trees should not have been removed because they are “a valuable amenity and are indispensable to a healthy biodiverse environment”.

“At a time when the country is publishing a pollinator’s plan, this blanket destruction of valuable species habitat makes very little sense,” the resident wrote.

Mattie McGrath, Independent Tipperary TD, wrote to the council on behalf of a constituent who was upset as a result of the tree-felling. Mr McGrath asked them to “have this matter investigated and dealt with as soon as possible”.

Other locals expressed dismay that they were not informed the trees would be removed.

One wrote: “How can anyone change the aspect of a town main street without consultation? We are in shock. Why? Is it not evident that the world needs trees more than ever? Why cut them down?”

‘Footpath maintenance’

In response to questions and complaints on the matter, the council said it “does not carry out formal consultation on projects of this scale, as it is essentially a series of small footpath maintenance works”.

Ger Walsh, senior executive officer at the council added: “This is necessary because the species of trees and the growth of their roots has continued to damage the footpaths despite previous repair work undertaken.”

Separately, in Kildare the council received a number of complaints regarding the removal of trees around the county.

In November last year, James Lawless, a Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, contacted the council on behalf of a resident who expressed dismay over the removal of 60 trees along the Meadowbrook Stream.

He forwarded an email in which the local said: “They [residents] are annoyed by the extreme excavation of what was a wonderful natural area for all wildlife in their area.”

The council said the trees were removed because they posed a risk to public safety. “In our opinion these are the wrong type of tree for the area,” the council said in response.

Another Kildare resident said: “Healthy trees where [sic] first of all hacked a few weeks ago when all they needed was some pruning. And now today healthy trees were cut down! Very angry and disappointed in the lack of cop on.”

Carl Wray, of Leixlip, Co Kildare, wrote to the council regarding the removal of a tree from the front of his home.

“My mother, who is seventy five, was very distressed this evening after discovering what you’ve done. You should be ashamed. We had no notice,” Mr Wray wrote.