A tree grows in Glebemount. Nothing remarkable about that; but this one has been attributed to Paddy Craan (that’s the Wicklow pronunciation of Crean). We are surrounded here by trees of many varieties and they take quite a buffeting in high winds and during winter storms.
There have been a number of casualties over the last few years.
My wife, Angela, and I became concerned when, in 2008, a tree in our garden was knocked over, barely missing our car in the driveway. A few meters from the side of our home there is a 10-meter birch tree which sways threateningly over our single-storey bungalow. We became anxious about our safety. These trees notably have shallow roots.
I made several verbal requests to Wicklow Town Council staff for the removal or topping of the tree. The Town Foreman inspected the tree and seemed to be about to schedule the necessary action.
As my subsequent enquiries bore no result, I sent the following email to the Town Engineer: –
>William (Paddy) Crean
>to kscanlon, tclerk
>I am writing this e-mail in frustration and desperation. For the past two years I have been paying visits to Wicklow Town Hall making verbal requests for the topping or removal of a tree from the roadside on Glebemount that is towering over our bedroom at
>We have evidence that this tree, in its present state, is a clear and present threat to our lives and property; the strong prevailing wind blew down a tree in our garden three years ago.
>On windy nights my wife and I (I am 82 years of age) cannot sleep for fear that one of the nearby trees will come crashing through our roof.
>The Town Foreman finally paid us a visit early this summer and inspected the tree we are most fearful of, along with the one next to it. He speculated on what might be done with them and whom he might get to do the work. As no work had been carried out by the end of July, I left verbal messages on the 15th, 23rd and 31st of August asking if the work had been scheduled.
>These requests for a telephone call fell on deaf ears. I heard nothing throughout September and on the 3rd of October I visited the Town Hall once again where I suggested to the official at reception that the Town Foreman did not want to speak with me. She suggested that I have a word with the Town Engineer, who was out of office at the time. She said she would e-mail him about my concerns and ask him to get in touch with me.
>I have heard nothing from any member of the Town Executive since.
>The purpose of this e-mail is to elicit information as to when you propose to respond to my now urgent request. No doubt you will favour me with a response without further delay.
I am copying this e-mail to the Town Clerk for the record.
10 MONTHS ELAPSED AND THERE WAS NO RESPONSE FROM THE TOWN HALL.
Following further enquiries at the Town Hall on five occasions between the 26th August and 10th September, I got to speak with the Town Engineer. He told me he had asked a firm of tree surgeons to examine the trees and to report on their state of health, height etc. I pointed out my concerns about the depth of soil and cited the two photographs. I said I would be satisfied if the trees were merely topped.
AT THE END OF NOVEMBER I HAD HEARD NOTHING FROM THE TOWN HALL.
A further visit presented an opportunity to speak with the Town Engineer in the public area of the Town Hall. He said the trees are perfectly healthy and will not blow down. I was enraged and stated my dissatisfaction in the strongest possible terms. He promised to send me the report of the tree surgeons. I left and proceeded to Wicklow Gaol Car Park, where I was approached by a man who had overheard my conversation with the Town Engineer.
He introduced himself as Gareth O’Reilly, Sinn Féin Councillor. He asked if he could call to my home to look at the disputed trees. I agreed. He visited me later, had a look at the trees and said he would get back to me. He didn’t.
Nor did the Town Engineer send me the promised report.
In defeat and frustration I let the matter rest.
Now, two years later, Wicklow Town Council has been abolished (I will withhold my cheers!) and I am considering raising the matter with Wicklow County Council. In the meantime, in the interest of reducing our carbon footprint, we have installed solar panels on the roof that is partially shaded by those pesky trees. I am hoping that this might persuade to Council to act in my favour.