Landowners with trees bordering the public road have been reminded by North Tipperary County Council that if they fall it is the landowner’s responsibility.
Council director of services Marcus O’Connor commended council staff who over the Christmas and New Year period dealt with up to 35 trees felled by the stormy conditions. The council handled 45 emergency calls alone on St Stephen’s Night.
“Thankfully there were no serious incidents, but I would ask landowners to keep an eye on trees bordering public roads,” he told Nenagh / Borrisokane area councillors. “They should examine roadside trees, especially in this weather.”
Mr O’Connor was clarifying a query from Cllr Michael O’Meara as to who was responsible for such trees. He said it was “an opportune time to clarify the position”.
He recalled that in 1991 five Frenchmen and a Portumna man Joe Meara died after their van was hit by a falling tree outside Portumna.
The Lowry Team member pointed out that a lot of beech trees near roads had been planted by huge state owners back in the 19th century that were maturing now and becoming dangerous.
Welcoming the clarification, Cllr O’Meara said the message should go out that it doesn’t have to be a big tree and that even a branch falling on to a car can cause damage.
“It is a good message to go out to landowners to inspect trees and to open gullies,” said Cllr Virginia O’Dowd.
Cllr Jim Casey’s belief that such trees were only the landowner’s responsibility if the council wrote to them was rejected by Mr O’Connor.
Mayor Ger Darcy pointed out that knocking a tree was “serious business and you would want to know what you are doing”.
He said the council should make itself available to people who had to cut trees near a public road, while Cllr Seamus Morris, area chair, assumed that most people would not cut down a tree because of the safety issue and a belief that they could not block roads.
However, Mr O’Connor replied: I accept that some trees may be big and difficult to fell, but in all cases if the council is required we will co-operate if a reasonable time frame is given to the area engineer.”