It has taken FIE 8 months and two sets of Parliamentary Questions by Independent TD Clare Daly to force the Minister for Agriculture to open an investigation of forestry activities in an ancient woodland in County Longford.
30 mature specimen oaks of veneer quality were felled in spite of a specific condition protecting them in the license, as were sequoias of up to 100 years old. A condition imposed by the Parks and Wildlife Service that the 7 hectare area where the oaks stood was to replanted only with broadleaves was ignored and the entire area planted with Sitka spruce.
A report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service confirming the felling of the protected oaks produced to inform a Parliamentary Reply to a written question about the felling in December 2015 was never provided to the Deputy who asked the question and was never reported by the NPWS to the Forest Service.
Full Press Release
Full text of PQs
May 2016 FIE PR on Felling During Bird Breeding Season at Castleforbes
The Village Magazine: ‘Castleforboding’, November 2016
A Parliamentary Question seeking information about felling in an ancient woodland in Castleforbes demesne in County Longford confirmed the felling of Oak trees between 60 and 80 years old in spite of a specific condition in the felling licence protecting the trees.
The information was contained in a Report prepared by the Parks and Wildlife Service to inform a reply to a written Parliamentary Question tabled on 1 December, 2015. The question, by then Longford/Westmeath TD James Bannon, FG, asked Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht ‘the action she will take to save the oak woodlands (details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter.’ The Minister replied that ‘My Department is investigating this matter and I will write to the Deputy when I have received a report.’
The license which was restricted to ‘firewood’ identified approximately 30 mature oaks which were to be protected, stating: ‘Leave all Oak, Holly, and Rowan standing”. The Report confirmed the recent felling of all the Oaks.
The Deputy never received the promised reply. An investigation by FIE which discovered the Report also revealed further felling this Spring of California Redwoods which the contractor had assured the Forest Service ‘would not be felled’.
The courts confirmed last week that the Edenderry Power plant permission should have considered the indirect impacts of the extraction of 1.2 million tons of peat a year, vindicated environmentalists’ legal challenges to the continued operation of the plant.
The challenges to the permission to extend the life of the plant beyond 2016 resulted in the final quashing of the permission last week by Justice Michael White. A stay on the order, which requires the decommissioning of the plant, has been granted by the Courts until April 2017 in order that a ‘fall back’ application for its continuance may be considered by An Bord Pleanala.
However, while admitting An Taisce’s case that indirect effects of the extraction of the fuel should have been considered as part of the environmental impact assessment [EIA] required by law, he ruled against FIE who brought a parallel case over the failure to consider the impacts through Appropriate Assessment [AA] under the Habitats Directive.
Walking The Earth is a literary expedition designed to share extraordinary places and people on our planet that are worth protecting and supporting. Each story centers around walking as a human activity that has linked people and places throughout time across the globe around the world. Today we have released Frank Reidy’s wonderful story from Ireland, “Walking With The Donald.” It involves global warming which Mr. Trump believes is “bullshit” in the United States, but a real threat and the core contributor to rising sea levels, and stronger storms, in Ireland. And the story is about the fight between Donald Trump and this small snail and the valiant efforts of the Friends Of The Irish Environment to protect it.
FIE is today publishing a Report obtained under Access to Information on the Environment showing shocking photographs of the Office of Public Works’ brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River beside Dunmanway’s Long Bridge last September. The site is host to a dense colony of the protected fresh water pearl mussel, and the Report details ‘removal of riparian trees and vegetation and disturbance of the ground resulting in the presence of large amounts of loose soil.’ Subsequent reports by the National Parks and Wildlife Service include photographs showing the river entirely overwhelming the silt fences put in place to prevent erosion. FIE has written to the Minister, highlighting the dangers to the environment of the OPW’s highly interventionist approach to urban flooding which emphasises hard landscape measures over catchment management and soft measures. The disastrous approach demonstrated in this Report is being replicated in the flood management schemes across the country.