City has no money to replace downed trees

City has no money to replace downed trees

Aftermath of Storm Ophelia on Centre Park Road hwere a number of mature trees were felled. Pic: Larry Cummins

CITY officials confirmed they are doing their best to secure funds to replace trees lost during Storm Ophelia, but are coming up short.

500 trees fell in the city centre during the hurricane-force winds late last year, with dozens more damaged.

To date, Cork City Council has secured €2m of a €6.95m pot designated for repairs by central government.

However, this money can only be used for clean-up operations, including stump-removal, and not for capital works.

The city must search elsewhere to replace the hundreds of mature trees damaged and lost during the storm.

Independent councillor, Kieran McCarthy, made an impassioned plea to the local authority to exhaust all options available to replace the trees.

Other speakers at City Hall noted the pruning of trees at the Lough, many of which had been damaged badly during the storms and required extensive work.

“This council needs to get active,” Mr McCarthy said. “We haven’t lobbied the Government to get involved, yet. I understand the budget constraints locally, but this is a huge number of trees that have to be replaced.

“We need government intervention to replace these trees.”

Environment director, David Joyce, said that the council is exploring options to find a funding stream. “I would be delighted to replace the trees, but I have no budget to do so,” Mr Joyce confirmed.

“I would love to replace 500 trees, but I don’t have the budget for one. I am looking locally, nationally, internationally, and off-world for funding to replace those trees, but we have not identified a funding stream, yet.”

Costs are exacerbated by the fact that the majority of the felled trees were mature and replacing with like-for-like would be very costly.

“Replacing semi-mature and mature trees is difficult,” he said.

“It’s not like we are talking about buying saplings.”

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