Irish Rail defends its decision to chop down trees
Irish Rail have defended their decision to clear trees from the bank at Killurin Bridge saying that the foliage was leading to 'safety issues' for walkers.
The statement comes following complaints from members of the Slaney Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. Commenting on the action, spokesperson for Irish Rail Jane Cregan said:
'There is a safety issue there. There is a curve on the track so the sight distance was poor due to the vegetation. People are walking the track regularly and this is causing problems,' she said. 'Under Section 49 of the Transport Infrastructure Act of 2001, it says that if we need to cut down trees for safety reasons, we can do so.'
Last week, members of the Slaney Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland expressed their fury with Irish Rail last week for the action, branding it 'savage destruction'. Slaney IWAI Chairman Brian Coulter called the action 'disgraceful'.
'This wanton destruction appears to be completely illegal under the Wildlife Act 1976 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 which states: "It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated,' he said.
Brian also criticised the 'careless' nature of the job, saying that branches and trees were thrown into a river and were creating a hazard to navigation at and below Killurin.
Commenting on the issue, Jane Cregan said: 'Due to the steep nature of the embankment, specialised personnel had to be employed that abseiled down to cut the branches. Some of the branches fell directly into the river and any remaining branches left on the embankment, will be removed in the coming days.'