A tree that has stood for decades near Sligo’s main street where roadworks are currently taking place was chopped down over the week-end.
The removal of the tree has shocked many locals who have taken to social media to express their anger but Sligo County County Council said a number of factors meant it had to go.
Confirming the tree was chopped down, the council said in a statement that it had envisaged keeping it as part of a news streetscape but as works progressed factors such as its age and safety came to the fore.
The statement said: “The design for the O’Connell Street project from the outset envisaged retaining the existing birch tree at the northern end of O’Connell Street.
“However, as works progressed in the area the council needed to evaluate the viability of the tree.
“The tree, its root system, its anchorage in the ground, its current condition, age, and size have been the subject of scrutiny over the last number of weeks.
“The issue surrounds the viability of the tree going forward, its current age and size, the evaluation of its longevity under its current condition and possible impacts of the proposed works, and the potential for impacts under health and safety.”
The council engaged the services of, a tree surgeon, the Parks Department, and an arborist and evaluated the submissions from each party.
It noted that retaining the tree risked having an impaired tree in a high traffic area, with significant pedestrian volume, and the fact that the introduction of a more suitable tree, in terms of scale and size, would outweigh the long-term management and recovery of the existing tree.
The council considered the submissions and concluded “that there is no tangible certainty of the existing tree’s longevity, and that there is no assurance in relation to the safety of the tree or its root system. Sligo County Council consider it prudent to take a course of action that will ensure the safety of the public by removing the tree and providing a replacement tree to compliment the new streetscape.”