•Offaly woman Teresa Treacy deserves an award instead of a prison term for her courage and tenacity in resisting the ESB's move to cut down her beloved trees.
The evergreens, oak, ash and birch that she has tended to are more than just lumps of inert or lifeless matter. They are among our most precious resources on this planet.
They beautify any landscape and lend character to even the dullest countrified scene that can greet the eye. They protect us from the elements -- how many times have we run to seek shelter underneath a tree, confident that the loving canopy of its leaves and branches would save us from a ducking?
I think of the song often sung by the legendary Irish tenor John McCormack: "I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as tree."
And trees act as the lungs of our planet, in reducing the level of air pollution, sucking in carbon dioxide and exhaling life-giving oxygen. They remove substances like ozone and nitrogen oxides from the air, thus contributing to a healthier and less toxic environment.
From time immemorial, mystics have perceived angelic beings living in trees, and colourful auras radiating from them.
Whatever one makes of this claim, there can be no doubt as to their intrinsic value in the natural order of things. Teresa Treacy is certainly on the side of the angels in taking her stand against the tree choppers.
It's the crooked bankers, corrupt politicians and greedy developers who should be tasting prison food, not this gentle but sturdy and determined woman, who has more decency in any one of her green fingers than all those betrayers of our nation combined.
Callan, Co Kilkenny