Wednesday 23 October 2019

'Progress' made on Skerries street trees dispute

Ken Phelan

Skerries Tree Preservation Group has reported some progress in its efforts to preserve trees on Church Street, Skerries, where the local authority has planned further tree removal.

Under Fingal County Council's adopted Tree Strategy, a total of thirteen trees on Church Street have been selected for removal on a phased basis.

A recent public meeting held by Skerries Preservation Group provided an update to residents on progress made to date, and outlined the group's aims for tree preservation on Church Street.

Speaking after the meeting, Shane Holland of Skerries Tree Preservation Group said: 'It was primarily an information meeting, just to let people in the town know what was going on over the number of weeks that we've been doing our thing, talking to the council and all the meetings that take place behind closed doors, to get it out to the public what was going on.

'We had people on both sides - we had some people there who said cut them all down and start again, or one person in particular, then people in other parts of the town are saying certain trees are too big, and difficulty with pigeon droppings etc. Then we had obviously the majority of people in the room that were for maintaining the trees.

'Some people do have genuine problems with the trees, with roots and pipes and different things and we acknowledge that, but we're saying where at all possible if we can keep trees we want to do that.'

A number of local bodies were represented at the meeting, including Skerries Tidy Towns, the Chamber of Commerce, representatives of Skerries Community Association and Skerries Tourism, along with councillors Tom O'Leary and Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh.

Local councillors, including Cllr O'Leary and Cllr O'Rodaigh have made presentations to Fingal County Council on the issue of tree removal at Church Street, on behalf of Skerries Tree Preservation Group.

Mr Holland said: 'The main outcome of the meeting and the communication with the council is that now, we've got an agreement to have an on-street meeting between the experts. The arborist and the landscape architect and one of our group will meet on the street to discuss all of the trees that are up for the chop, and then agree a position and then get on with it.

'So that's a result in some ways to say now there's an agreement to nail this thing by having a meeting with the experts and cut out all the heat and emotion out of it.'

Skerries Tree Preservation Group is currently in dispute with Fingal Council regarding the council's plans to remove a further three trees on Church Street.

However, the agreement by the council to meet with the group for discussion marks significant progress for the action group, Shane told the Fingal Independent.

Fingal Independent