Farmers are responsible for the maintenance of their own boundary fences. That was the message loud and clear from the Swinford electoral area committee this week.
With only €20,000 in the council’s coffers for hedge cutting in the area, local elected representatives were told there would be no further funding available to carry out hedge cutting, especially considering the drain recent winters have had on resources.
Paul Dolan, senior executive engineer, said he was not “getting at” farmers but it was their own responsibility to cut their own hedges.
He said the allocated €20,000 would be enough to look after areas near schools and graveyards but it would not stretch much further.
With more than 900 kilometres of road in the Swinford area, Mr Dolan said there “wasn’t a hope” the €20,000 would be enough for trimming on local roads.
However Councillor Jimmy Maloney said it was not the farmers’ responsibility to cut the verges on the side of the road.
Cllr Maloney also said “there was no way” farmers were going to cut hedges because if anything happened they were liable. “No farmer is going to take that chance. We have to find the money.”
He highlighted areas where Coillte owned trees were overhanging roads, particularly near Pontoon, and he said this was an accident waiting to happen. He also asked that Coillte drain its lands to stop water flowing onto roads and washing them away.
Mr Dolan said a tree notice could be served on Coillte.