A WEST Cork environmental campaigner has defended her actions in cutting down spruce trees and replacing them with native broadleaf trees.
Sionad Jones (60) of Maughnaclea, Kealkil appeared before Bantry court, charged with causing criminal damage to 500 Coillte trees at Monaclea, between November 4th 2017 and December 4th 2018. A second charge of stealing felled spruce wood, amounting to €500, was also brought against the accused, but both have been adjourned to the October 24th sitting of the court for the production of a Book of Evidence.
Sionad Jones defended her actions, saying: ‘I did it because I am concerned what kind of environment we are leaving for future generations. These spruce trees that Coillte have planted cause biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and acidification of the water. They are not good for the environment.
She added: ‘It needed to be done. There is a lack of proper forests and diversity of trees in this country and the problem with spruce trees is that they are causing biodiversity loss.
‘They are causing extinction of species. The land was better off before the spruce was planted. And if someone can be bothered to change that, to try and do something positive for the environment, they should be allowed.’ She said she thought her best chance of being found ‘not guilty’ would be before ‘a jury of people who are also conscious of the need for forestry to change.’