Angry scenes over tree-felling in Roscommon park

Planned tree-felling work at Mote Park near Roscommon town today led to angry scenes between protesters and workers.

The work has been suspended until a meeting takes place between Coillte and the local conservation group next Tuesday.

Last night the Mote Park Conservation Group claims it became aware Coillte was set to carry out forestry clearance work in the Derrydonnell side of the park.

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The group alleges this was in breach of an agreement it had with the company.

Eilish Feeley, the group’s secretary, claims after controversy over a proposed clearance plan in 1999, an amended forest-management agreement was set out until about 2020.

The group says the area Coillte planned to begin work on today is part of an area which was agreed would never be touched, for environmental reasons.

Ms Feeley is extremely annoyed with the semi-state company.

In a statement, Coillte says while carrying routine preparatory works at Mote Park forest, it was made aware of a local group’s concerns about planned harvesting activity at the site.

Coillte says it has arranged to meet the group next week to review the proposed harvesting plans of a non-native mature conifer plantation at Mote Park.

Coillte says it ensures that all harvesting operations meet Forest Service licence requirements and are planned at site level, with full assessment of environmental impact, landscape sensitivity, local consultation requirements and relevant site issues.

It adds any areas harvested at Mote Park will be fully replanted with a mixture of commercial conifers, broadleaf and native conifers trees, ensuring greater species diversification in line with Coillte’s sustainable forest management policy.

Coillte concludes no tree-felling machinery is on site.