Bertie digs deep to launch National Tree Week

HE warned of worrying global trends and harmful gases, but there wasn’t a word about UN weapons inspectors or Saddam Hussein.

On the other hand the Taoiseach's speech was dotted with colourful political jargon including references to renewed growth, a new start and a time for hope in the future. No mention of impending war and the downward slide in the economy.

'A Lot Done, A Lot More to Do' except this time it was all about trees.

Reminding people he loves gardening, Groundforce Bertie Ahern strolled into the magnificent Botanic Gardens in Dublin yesterday to plant an oak, marking the launch of National Tree Week.

The worrying global trends Mr Ahern was referring to were increases in global warming attributed to greenhouse gases.

"While planting trees is a way of creating an even more beautiful countryside, we should also remember that they are nature's way of dealing with poisonous gases like carbon dioxide," Mr Ahern said.

He added that Ireland had signed up to the Kyoto Protocol (no mention that the USA hadn't) and had made a commitment to a 13% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2012.

"I am very pleased to say that the 1.2 million native trees that were planted as part of the People's Millennium Forests Project are growing extremely well. The planting of these trees will be an important legacy for the future too, for our children and our children's children," the Taoiseach said.

He said that by planting trees and leaving the car at home it would reduce greenhouse gases and help save the environment.

Jointly sponsored by Spar and Coillte and organised by the Tree Council of Ireland, 300 free events have been planned for the public during the next week.

These include forest walks, talks, tree planting ceremonies and exhibitions nationwide. In addition over 15,000 trees have been distributed to schools and community groups by local authorities to mark the occasion.

The events guide is available at Spar stores and Coillte offices.

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