'Save Our Trees' Rally for City Hall

The NGO group that I am chairperson of- the ‘Friends of the Forest’- has decided to maintain the political pressure on Galway City Council to save our local urban Forest by organising a public pro-Tree rally outside City Hall at 6.30pm on Monday October 6th while our local political representatives hold their monthly meeting inside.
We see this rally as pro-Galway City Council and pro-city. We simply want our local authority to activate its existing but dormant policies to provide outdoor leisure facilities for all ages, an annual programme of family events in all our main urban parks and the preservation of our increasingly threatened wildlife habitats. We need more plantings not less to transform barren ugly urbanscapes into picturesque leafy suburbs and tree-lined boulevards. Our wonderful natural heritage areas along the Corrib and in places such as Castlegar, Dyke road, Merlin, Menlo and Ballindooley require improved protection from built development if they are to serve for instance as outdoor classrooms for our school children. Just a few years ago the people of Galway were encouraged in their thousands to come out and plant trees to ‘green’ our city. Sadly what we now hear from the corridors of power is a bitter diatribe from one of our public representatives that he is sick of trees all across the city and even more proposals from officialdom to construct more roads through our scarce urban woodlands.
These words and actions should concern us all. Though many councillors and TDs have confirmed their support for our demands, nevertheless, we must maintain the pressure until a decision is reached on the Road and when we see the council's ecological policies being finally implemented. So we need to remind our politicians that over 10,000 people signed a petition last spring to demand an end to a new road through the Terryland Forest while requesting instead the implementation of existing council proposals that include the provision of a forestry learning centre, tree nurseries and an arts amphitheatre as well as the reinstatement of community tree ‘Plantathons’ in an effort to encourage people to regularly use our parks, reduce our carbon footprint and beautify our concrete-based city. Cutting down trees will not reduce anti-social behaviour, clean up our environment nor help solve our traffic crisis. But what could help are park wardens, a litter policy that includes a refundable charge on all drink cans and bottles and a city-wide pedestrian, cycling and public transport infrastructure.Dumping in the Terryland River that is not just an eyesore but is destroying the habitats of our wildlife

But we still have a fight on our hands. Last Sunday , City Council held a public ecological nature walk through the Forest as part of Irish Mobility Week (looking at alternatives to car transport). The Parks Staff did a great job informing the participants on biodiversity, individual native Irish trees etc. But there were only 17 people on the walk, most of whom were activists in the 'Friends of the Forest' group. For the Council made no mention of the event in the media or in any of the ample literature that was specifically published for Mobility Week!!! Nor have they tried to involved members of the multi-sectoral steering committee which has been largely ignored by City Hall over the last four years.People lined up in their thousands at our stand in Shop Street to sign the petition to save Terryland Forest Park from road development.The girl in the photo was the first person to plant a tree in the Park during the first 'Planathon' in March 2000 attended by circa 3,500 people

Image above shows location of proposed road through the Terryland Forest Park. Traffic Lights will be located across the Quincenntennial Bridge road where it mets the new road. The development will also include a major widening of the existing Dyke Road transforming it from a relatively quiet backwater road with low vehicle capacity into a heavily populated transport artery. This oldest area of the Terryland Forest Park, first planted in March 2000, with its adjoining wetland area will become nothing more than a glorified 'green' island surrounded by a busy network of roads.

here to view the Friends of the Forest website and find out more on Ireland's first urban Commuinty woodland.


Speedie's Blog said...

Greetings John, I just placed an image in this article showing the location and rough outline of the proposed road. I will place a more detailed drawing early next week as I will try and obtain a copy from the Planning Office.
Thanks for your interest in the issue!

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot Brendan for this very interesting posting !!!

Nature conservancy or promoting it is mainly done by the "green"activists here,named Greenpeace and greenpeace alike groups + a German political party named "the greens" (Die Grünen),latter started as anti conservative party and nature protection activists in the beginning of the 80's ,today there as usual as all other German political parties ,but they still claim that nature conservancy is "their" topic.

At the moment there's a new wave/trend for nature conservancy here,mainly due to the alarming news in the last year about the status of nature n the horrorful stories how Co2 could harm our climatical situation (As a Musician I feel strange that a Event like Live Earth produced way too much of that substance but they show up like "we're the good n Co2 is evil" )

But while "saving nature" is noble/good/authentical almost nobody gets his back up and changes sth. in his private life or joins nature conservancy projects ,but all expect politicans to do so ,while in the same moment everybody moans if nature activists warn that building a new street or whatever would harm the nature.

Very weird at all for me indeed.

As work is due to start soon n needing some sleep before it I finish this comment with wishing you good sucess with saving the nature in Galway ,Ireland needs more forests ,it's not only about having an intact nature ,it's also one of the reasons why Ireland is target of millions of tourists and travellers every Year .

Slan ,Julian

Speedie's Blog said...