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HSE accused of ‘environmental sabotage’ after felling 200 trees in Merlin Woods


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

HSE accused of ‘environmental sabotage’ after felling 200 trees in Merlin Woods HSE accused of ‘environmental sabotage’ after felling 200 trees in Merlin Woods

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The HSE has been accused of ‘environmental sabotage’ after cutting down up to 200 mature ash trees in Merlin Woods.

In addition, the driving of heavy machinery through the EU-protected Merlin Meadows has come in for criticism and has led to calls for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate.

The HSE, which owns a significant portion of the woods adjacent to Merlin Park Hospital, attributed the work to ‘health and safety’ measures, but those who work to protect the woods have cast doubt over this justification.

Caroline Stanley from Friends of Merlin Woods said the tree-cutting began last Friday and continued throughout the week without any consultation with them or, it would appear, Galway City Council, which owns another section of the woods.

“It just seems like someone said they needed to get rid of the trees but thought nothing of the biodiversity. But that is a neglect of [the HSE’s] responsibility as landowners in this mixed woodland habitat.

“There are millions of insects this will have impacted; there are birds, certain breeds of bats use the trees to roost – there is no evidence that had been considered,” said Ms Stanley.

Responding to a query from this newspaper, a spokesperson for the Saolta Hospital Group stated that a number of ash trees “near to pedestrianised areas and along the woodlands edge were removed for health and safety reasons” by “a tree surgery company”.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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