The felling of mature trees in Salthill Park is "an outrageous act of vandalism”, which has led to a Garda investigation, and a demand from councillors for answers from City Hall.
City councillor Donal Lyons has condemned the cutting down of the trees and has submitted a list of questions to City Hall to determine what happened and why. "This is a matter of extreme importance," said Cllr Lyons. "The felling of the trees in public parkland has to be condemned."
The trees were cut down last Sunday, prompting opposition and condemnation from residents of the Dalysfort Road area. However, residents were given an impression that the Galway City Council authorised the work. Gardaí from Salthill Garda Station were also assured permission had been granted, after they were called to the park to examine what was going on.
However Cllr Lyons was informed earlier this week by the council's Parks Department that no permission was granted. This was further confirmed in a statement from the council on Monday: "Galway City Council had not authorised the felling of any trees in Salthill Park. We are currently liaising with An Garda Síochána in Salthill and are carrying out an investigation into the matter."
Cllr Lyons has now submitted a list of questions to City Hall, asking: Who authorised the felling of the trees? Who carried out the work? Had the people who carried out the work public liability insurance? Was a tender process undertaken? How is the wood from the trees being disposed of? Was the felling of the trees carried out on the instructions of a local resident?
He has asked for "all correspondence in this matter to be circulated" to his fellow Galway City West councillors Niall McNelis, Pearce Flannery, Peter Keane, and Cathal O'Conchúir
Cllr Pearce Flannery has called the tree felling "an outrageous act of vandalism” and "a criminal act".
"This is particularly disappointing as it happened at a time when so much behind the scenes work is being carried out to help rejuvenate the Salthill area," he said. "The council is currently liaising with An Garda Síochána in Salthill, and is carrying out an investigation into the matter."