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Tuesday 28 March 2017

Local residents 'up in arms' as council investigate felling of mature trees in public park

Galway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend.
Galway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend.
Galway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal Lyons

Meadhbh McGrath

Galway City Council is investigating the felling of four mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend.

Local residents in Knocknacarra are reportedly “up in arms” after discovering the trees had been felled and that the fallen trees had been left in situ.

“The park looks out on Galway Bay, it’s an iconic park that’s been there for years, and at the very top of the park there are eight huge mature trees,” a resident told Independent.ie.

He said that one of his neighbours claimed to have received permission from the council and cut down four of the large trees along with one smaller tree early on Saturday morning.

Galway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal Lyons
Galway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal LyonsGalway City Council is investigating the felling of five mature trees in Salthill Park last weekend. Photo: Donal Lyons

The resident also said he believed the neighbour wanted to have the trees removed to afford his home with “a panoramic view over Galway Bay”.

“It was done literally within an hour, it was a finely tuned operation,” he said.

“The local residents are absolutely up in arms. It’s an absolute scandal - these trees have been here 90 years. It’s devastating.”

Independent councillor Donal Lyons said the felling of trees in a public park was “to be condemned”.

He told Independent.ie he had been contacted on Sunday by several residents from the area who were “very vocal in their opposition to the felling of mature trees”.

“At the time of the felling a number of local residents objected in the strongest possible terms about the felling of the trees and were given an impression that Galway City Council authorised the felling of the trees in question,” he said.

“Gardai from the local Salthill Garda Station were called to the Park and were assured that permission was granted by the council.”

Mr Lyons said he contacted the council and was assured that no such authorisation had been granted.

He explained that he is now liaising with the council to address the issue.

“This is a matter of extreme importance,” he said.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council told Independent.ie they were alerted to the incident on Saturday, and that staff from the Parks and Recreation Department attended the scene on Monday, where they discovered the felled trees.

“Galway City Council had not authorised the felling of any trees in Salthill Park. Without any doubt, there was no permission given by the council,” the spokesperson said, adding that the matter has been referred to the council’s law agent.

“We are currently liaising with An Garda Síochána in Salthill and are carrying out an investigation into the matter,” they said.

Gardaí in Salthill have confirmed they are investigating the incident.

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