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Uprooting of historic Macroom grove of trees a cause of upset

July 20th, 2017 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

Environmentalist Ted Cook holds up the order not to damage the trees at McEgan College last week in Macroom after workers began removing the trees planted there. A silver birch (behind Ted Cook) was planted in 1996 by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson and it was to be protected by a Bord

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BY EMMA CONNOLLY 

THE uprooting of trees protected by a planning order, inside the former Macroom Castle demesne to create car parking spaces has been slammed.

Planning permission had been granted to Cork ETB to build an extension to accommodate a special needs class at McEgan College in the town. 

However, objections were successfully lodged with An Bord Pleanala (ABP) by a group of locals who wanted a grove of trees on the site protected and retained. 

An ABP ruling stated: ‘The proposed disabled car parking space to the east of the building be omitted and the existing grove of trees at this location shall be retained and protected against damage during construction work.'

But last week, to his horror, one of the objectors Ted Cook witnessed native trees he had grown from seed and planted in the grove being demolished as part of building works.  

Two had particular significance – a silver birch planted in 1996 by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson on a visit to the town; and a wild crab apple tree planted a by a group from Omagh to mark the first anniversary of the bombing. 

All but two of the grove were uprooted – only a hazel tree and a common oak remain, said Ted who founded the Macroom District and Environmental Group some  32 years ago 

‘I feel traumatised by what happened,' he said.

A council spokesperson said the matter was under investigation. ‘It would be premature to comment until the investigation is complete,' the spokesperson said.  

However Ted claimed that it was a case of ‘anarchy in the planning system with An Bord Pleanala being overruled by the council.'

‘I got a copy of the ABP judgement and their assurance last April 1st – I see it as nothing as an April Fool's joke now,' he said. 

‘That grove meant so much to so many people. I'm personally going to contact the president and replant the silver birch. This is the loss of ornament and glory of our town to a huge car parking space.'

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