Tree dwellers are caught nap­ping as the felling be­gins

Jan­uary 1998

Bray People - - NEWS -

A six-month stand­off be­tween Wick­low County Coun­cil and en­vi­ron­men­tal protesters ended when the lo­cal author­ity be­gan a ma­jor tree felling pro­gramme at Glen of the Downs.

Eco-cam­paign­ers were caught nap­ping in early morn­ing, when a large team of lo­cal author­ity work­ers moved in with chain­saws to fell trees along the route of the planned N11 widen­ing pro­gramme through the north Wick­low glen.

A num­ber of the cam­paign­ers who have been oc­cu­py­ing tree houses and tents at Glen of the Downs in their protest, at­tempted to hin­der the ef­fort by climb­ing con­demned trees in the line of the felling pro­gramme, but as the morn­ing pro­gressed it be­came clear that the 40 strong lo­cal author­ity team were in­tent to work around them and leave the oc­cu­pied trees stand­ing for the time be­ing at least.

More than a dozen gardai were present through­out the oper­a­tion too, but Garda Su­per­in­ten­dent Phil Moyni­han said that their only func­tion was to pre­vent any breaches of the peace, and to pre­vent ob­struc­tion along the busy main Wick­low to Dublin Road.

Tree protesters con­fided that they had been caught un­awares by the coun­cil move, and that less than 10 protesters were at the camp when the lo­cal author­ity move in.

An in­ten­sive morn­ing of net­work­ing was started al­most im­me­di­ately by sup­port­ers of the protest how­ever, with the cam­paign­ers pre­dict­ing that there would be dozens more at the site be­fore the day was out.

Michael, who has been liv­ing in a tree house for the past four months said that they would also work through­out the night to secure the site as best they could.

Mean­while, lawyers act­ing for the cam­paign­ers were un­der­stood to be go­ing to the High Court yes­ter­day morn­ing to seek an or­der re­strain­ing Wick­low County Coun­cil from con­tin­u­ing with their felling oper­a­tion.

Up­wards of 1,500 trees are sched­uled to be felled to ac­com­mo­date the planned road widen­ing.

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