An Oranmore woman was left in floods of tears after ESB staff removed twelve trees from her garden.
It was one of a number of fellings that has left residents in the city and county angry – and accusing ESB Networks of ‘butchering trees’ in Renmore and Mervue as well as Oranmore.
One woman traumatised by this, who wishes to remain anonymous, has spoken about her devastation over what she described as the ‘bloody mess’ that the ESB crew left her garden in.
ESB protocol states that if a tree is close to interfering with an electricity line, they will ‘trim the branches back a safe distance’.
However, they say, ‘if the trees are in an unstable condition and there is danger they could fall on the electricity line we will cut them down completely.’
The Oranmore woman was informed that ESB would be trimming trees in her local area.
But she said she had specifically stated that she didn’t want any work done on her trees because she was looking at getting them trimmed herself.
The woman did acknowledge that some of the trees in her garden were ‘bending slightly’ and did need work for safety reasons.
She said that nobody was present in her home when the trees in her garden were cut down.
“They ripped out twelve 25 feet trees,” she said, “I cried.”
She felt her garden had been left in a terrible condition after the removal of the trees.
She continuously contacted ESB about the issue but she said they eventually stopped answering her calls and emails altogether – ultimately claiming that she was harassing them.
They have since contacted her but she said that they still “refuse to accept any responsibility.”
The woman has contacted a solicitor, Citizens Advice and the Tree Council of Ireland.
Project Supervisor at ESB Networks Paddy Gorman, who was initially dealing with the complaints regarding the trees in Renmore, declined to comment on the issue but said he is working with the City Council on the situation.
Last month, Councillor Terry O’Flaherty demanded that ESB Networks return to Renmore Park and “finish the job properly”.
“They have left the area in an unholy mess – they really have to be seen to be believed.
“It’s simply not acceptable. Local people are very proud of their area and are very upset by this,” said Cllr O’Flaherty, adding that there is now a concern among locals that the condition of the trees could pose a safety risk.
“Some of these trees are now lop-sided, with all the weight on one side, and some people are worried that if we have another storm like we did last month, one of these trees could be blown over – and who will be responsible then if they cause damage to property, or worse injury?”
The City Council’s Senior Executive Parks Superintendent Stephen Walsh said he was on the ‘same wavelength’ as Cllr O’Flaherty on this issue. “I’ve made it clear that we’re not happy,” he said.