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Consideration will be given to a request to the increase amount of native trees planted on Council owned land across Co Clare.

It follows a motion by Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) at the November meeting of the local authority. He asked if plans were in place “to increase the planting of the native tree species on Council property and where appropriate the Council call on the Government to provide realistic grant aid for sowing native trees in commercial forestries.”

Director of Service, Carmel Kirby referred to the Council’s recently adopted Climate Change Adaptation Policy which “has a number of objective themes one of which is in the area of ‘natural resources and cultural infrastructure’. Under Objective 1 ‘To provide for enhancement of natural environment to work positively towards climate action’ we have an action to develop a strategy  to implement an active tree planting programme.

“This strategy will take into consideration the subject of the motion with regard to the suitability of planting trees on Council land. We will revert to the members when the strategy is formulated”. She confirmed they would write to the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and the Marine regarding the provision of realistic grant aid to for sowing native trees in commercial forests.

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In the views of Cllr McMahon, heavy storms over recent years highlighted that with trees “some of their roots weren’t sufficient”. The Newmarket-on-Fergus representative highlighted that hurley makers have had to travel to Holland in recent years to get ash. “Hopefully the Department would be positive on the overall picture. Our farming community have been friends of the earth for many years, only recently they have began to get more support. We’re beginning to appreciate how valuable trees are to our present and our future”.

Cllr Roisin Garvey (GP) praised Cllr McMahon for bringing forward the motion which she seconded. “On our farm at home, my father lost 100 trees they were sitka spruce. It is worth taking the native tree aspect of this storm very seriously. Their roots grab on to soil. We’re predicting a lot heavier tropical rainstorms”.

She acknowledged that “great work” had been done by the Council in relation to National Tree Week “but that is probably 1% of what we should be doing”. As part of her work with the Green Schools programme, analysis on students’ carbon footprint was done at the two teacher school in Moy. “We need to look at the way we’re butchering our hedges at the moment, we have the best hedgerow system in Europe,” Garvey added.

“Trees are the natural air cleaners, they are friends of the people and friends of the land,” Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) commented.

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