Clarinbridge resident concerned about the sale of local woodland

A Clarinbridge resident has expressed his dissatisfaction about the sale of woodland in the area. The land in Kilcornan, which is owned by Coillte, has been placed for sale by private treaty with Galway auctioneering firm DNG Maxwell Heaslip & Leonard.

The lands, which comprises of some 25 acres, are in one lot and front onto the L4102 link road between Clarinbridge village and the Galway to Craughwell road. There is road frontage onto the public road with vehicular access. The land is backing on to the Clarinbridge river.

Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, local resident Michael Ryan said he is one of many people with concerns about the sale. “My question is why are Coillte selling this piece of land? We obviously don’t know as yet who will buy the land but there are concerns it will be purchased by a property developer and developed for exclusive housing as has been done in other woodlands areas around Clarinbridge.”

Mr Ryan says it would be his wish that the woodlands are left as they are and possibly become an amenity for the locals. “The wood is alive with flora and fauna. It has native trees aging over several hundred years, and is home to badgers, owls and bats. The wood is next to the Clarin River and in 1999 during the bad floods the river burst its banks flooded the forest and came very close to destroying several local houses. If it was not for the woods and the drainage channels that run through it, this devastation would have happened.”

He also says the site holds a deep historical significance. “Deep in the woodlands there is a ‘Mass Rock’ where during Penal times locals gathered to celebrate Mass free from persecution.”

Coillte issued a statement to the Galway Advertiser about the sale stating the land is currently being advertised for public sale, on foot of local interest in the site from a member of the public. The statement went on to say "Prior to the land being placed on the market, an environmental assessment and a due diligence process was carried out by Coillte. In addition, and as part of an established consultation process in relation to the sale of land, a Coillte representative consulted with residents locally to inform them of the proposal to sell the land. The proposed sale is part of a long established and open process by which Coillte manage the estate by buying and selling land on an ongoing basis."

"The Clarinbridge site is comprised of mostly young trees that were planted in 2011, with a small percentage of mature trees dating back to the 1870s. Access to farm lands at the rear of the property exists through right-of-way access, which is currently used by Coillte. This right-of-way will not be affected by any potential sale of the Clarinbridge site as it is separately owned."

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