Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (209)

Seán Crowe

Question:

209. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason for the clearing of a large amount of trees and hedgerows along Whitechurch stream in St. Enda’s Park and the Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, in late March 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18490/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The works referred to by the deputy were undertaken on March 12th and 13th, 2019. Section 40 of the WILDLIFE ACT 1976 as amended by the WILDLIFE (AMENDMENT) ACT 2000 and the HERITAGE ACT 2018, allows for the reasonable removal of vegetation during the restricted season (1st March to 31st August) for works necessitated by reason of public health or safety.

A large (non-native) willow tree fell across the Whitechurch stream thereby creating a health and safety hazard to the public. In removing the tree it was apparent that two adjacent trees ran the same risk of failure and these were therefore removed at the same time. Amongst these trees a scrub layer of overgrown privet hedging was cleared as part of the process, since felling procedures always require a safe area for operations to take place. The privet was growing in shade, had not been clipped in over 20 years and was not a nesting habitat.

In line with OPW's commitment to safeguard and protect the flora and fauna at the State's heritage sites, St. Enda’s Museum and Park has a very strong biodiversity and wildlife ethic. There is a nature room as part of the Pearse Museum and committed staff in the park give guided talks on wildlife conservation and tend an apiary on site. Maintenance of the lake, stream and abundant ‘wild’ vegetation is always undertaken with wildlife in mind.