A GREEN Party councillor has accused his Fianna Fáil farming colleague of taking ‘an arrogant stance’ in relation to hedgerow cutting and tree felling.
Cllr Liam Quaide (GP) raised the issue at a meeting of Cork County Council when he called on the local authority to collaborate with Cork Nature Network and the Cork Environmental Forum.
He was asking for ‘strict guidelines’ to be drawn up that would identify exactly when hedgerow cutting and tree felling was necessary for safety reasons.
The Green Party councillor also asked that when landowners are requested, by the Council, to cut back trees or hedges for public safety reasons that they be ‘given information on the biodiversity implications of the work.’
A lot of councillors spoke on the issue but Cllr Quaide suggested that his fellow Midleton Municipal District colleague Cllr James O’Connor (FF) was being arrogant when he said there was no need to distribute information leaflets.
Cllr O’Connor had voiced his opposition to Cllr Quaide’s notice of motion on the basis that farmers and landowners didn’t need to be told how to maintain their land.
‘I don’t like the idea of someone coming into our farm and telling us how to do our work,’ he said.
Cllr O’Connor also disagreed with the suggestion that too many trees have been cut down unnecessarily.
Bantry-based Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) agreed that Ireland, and the world, is ‘facing a biodiversity crisis.’ But he said people’s lives are being put at risk because the verges along rural roads are dangerously overgrown.
Cllr Collins produced a document containing a breakdown of the number of trees cut down by councils, and it showed the number for Cork was 90, compared to 1,531 for South Dublin County Council.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) described the issue as ‘a hot topic’ and he agreed that the roads present a danger to walkers and cyclists, as well as motorists.
He suggested ‘a deeper cut at the appropriate time of the year’ would be one way towards finding ‘balance in the debate.’
Cllr Michael Creed (FG) suggested that the area engineers know their own roads and that they could be relied upon to ‘make the right call.’