Hedge cutting, its lack thereof and the potential driving hazards that have emerged as a result were top of the agenda during a meeting of Granard Municipal District last week.
It was Cllr Luie McEntire (FF) who opened the debate by telling members that he has been inundated with requests from local people in the Colmcille and Dromard areas to deal with the matter.
“There are a few narrow roads in particular, in north Longford and while hedge trimming has been carried out in some areas, there are other routes where the trees and hedges are growing in on each other,” said Cllr McEntire.
“In a lot of cases there is nobody on the land to claim responsibility for hedge cutting and to be honest with you if it is not dealt with now, give it another five years and there will be roads in north Longford that will have become completely closed in at the top with hedge and tree growth.”
“In some cases the landowners are gone and the land is actually barren.”
In response, area engineer David Coppinger said that there was now an onus on the local authority to approach landowners in the area and ask them to keep an eye on hedge trimming.
“The landowners are the ones with primary responsibility for cutting back hedges and trimming ditches, etc,” added Mr Coppinger.
Meanwhile, Cllr Martin Mulleady (FF) told the meeting that he knew of people who were afraid to go near hedges out of fear of being fined.
“There are people out there who are afraid to trim back the hedges in case they are fined because of the time of the year it is again,” he added.“It’s all ridiculous to be honest with you and something needs to be done; we can’t let something like this get so out of control.”
Cllr Paraic Brady (FG) then pointed out that head cutting could be carried out in an emergency where the situation was deemed to be a health and safety issue.
“As far as I know and I am right on this,” he concluded.
“Under health and safety regulations hedges can be cut.”