The Galway City Council has been criticised for removing wild vegetation in South Park, with one local election candidate accusing City Hall of "breaking its biodiversity commitments" in its own Galway City Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2024.
Social Democrats Galway City Central candidate Sharon Nolan said locals in the Claddagh were "dismayed" to discover workers from Galway City Council "removing wild vegetation" in South Park. Ms Nolan alleged that, instead of "pruning and cutting back sympathetically", wild plants, consisting of gorse, brambles, and buddleia "were shredded to the ground and removed". She said further attempts to remove a tree in the area were stopped when a passerby intervened.
According to legislation introduced in 2000, it is an offence to "cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season". The ban is provided by Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the 2000 Act and establishes the closed period as March 1 to August 31.
"This small area was a haven for wildlife teeming with birds, bees, butterflies and pollinators and is very popular with local walkers," she said, "Our council needs a shift in attitude towards our natural habitats. We need to be expanding habitats, planting native wildflowers and preserving the biodiversity as we face a climate and ecological emergency.”