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National Monuments

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 23 November 2021

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Ceisteanna (254)

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

254. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of plans to cut trees in the War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57363/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens are of National Significance and the Office of Public Works has been responsible for their management and maintenance, since they were built in the 1930’s. The gardens are a place of quiet serenity, reflection, and remembrance. In excess of 400,000 members of the public visit the gardens on an annual basis.

Following a visual inspection by the Park Manager at Irish National War Memorial Gardens, who had raised concerns with regard to the safety of the trees on the entrance avenue, an independent Arborist was commissioned to undertake a full technical survey of the trees. This survey was reviewed on site by the Chief Park Superintendent, who agreed with the finding of the consultant arborist. Twelve trees, mainly Norway and Silver Maples along the entrance avenue were identified for felling, due to decay caused by fungal infections such as Ganoderma and also due to their weakened structural crowns. Unfortunately, these trees pose an unacceptable risk to public safety, on this very busy pedestrian and vehicular avenue and for this reason, the tree felling is essential.

The Office of Public Works will plant a new avenue of 18 trees, Acer x fremanii ‘Autumn Blaze’ over the coming season on the entrance road to the gardens, in addition to a new footpath. This new avenue will replace those trees lost over the last number of years and the current dangerous trees. The single species avenue will provide a formal approach to the gardens as was the original design intention. The species selected is fast growing, has great autumn colour, will add to the biodiversity and at maturity will be 40-50 ft. tall.

OPW has a Tree Safety Management Policy for National Historic Properties including the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, which balances the need for safety with the conservation of the trees on a risk assessment basis, at all their sites. Whether trees are managed for their cultural, amenity, heritage or environmental benefits, their management must be balanced and proportionate to the actual risks from trees. Trees naturally lose branches or may fall over a period of time. OPW only fells trees when absolutely necessary and in the public interest.

The new avenue of trees will be a significant improvement to the setting of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, while improving public safety and universal access.

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