The Sycamore tree at the entrance to the Village of Gowna, which is the focus of the attention.

Pruning of Gowna tree divides opinion

The pruning of a mature Sycamore tree on the verge of Gowna village in recent weeks has divided opinion in the local community and sparked debate.

The local Development Association commissioned the works amid concerns for safety, particularly during high winds, following professional advice that the tree was boast (rotten) in the middle.

A spokesperson for the group rejected allegations that crows’ nests were removed from the tree.

A number of residents in the Gowna area had contacted the Celt to express their anger at the tree being cut back and querying if the works, carried out on Saturday, March 23, at the start of national tree week were permitted.

One irate local man Kieran Smyth claimed nests were removed. He feels the tree is an asset to the village and important for wildlife.

Kieran’s querying if the works undertaken were permitted or legal.

“It is my understanding that you are not suppose to be cutting down trees, branches or hedges after the 1st of March and I presume you are suppose to have a permit for activity like this,” said Kieran.

“It will take a hell of a long time for that tree to grow back again and the birds won’t nest there for generations,” he added.

But a spokesperson for the Development Association, which is involved in a number of projects to enhance the village and its environs, insisted they had acted correctly and within the law.

“That tree was inspected by a tree surgeon and was found to be boast in the middle, and there is a distinct possibility that tree could fall,” he said.

Having been observed swaying during recent strong winds, some locals were concerned the tree would fall and said it posed a “health and safety issue”.

In fact, the expert advice given to the Development Association was to cut the tree down entirely but they were reluctant to do that.

A spokesperson for the Development Association said they instead decided to have branches removed, to render it safer.

“The tree is on private property and in close proximity to a house. If a tree is deemed dangerous in such a situation, there is a clear understanding that it can be felled at any time of the year,” he added.