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We can replace trees but not lives

Safety first – that is what we are advised. This applies generally but not always when it comes to some aspects of road safety.

Take trees for instance: how many people have been killed, injured or have barely escaped injury or death when trees fell across roads? It is an ongoing issue but little has been done to address it.

When I think that young hurlers are now banned from playing hurling at half-time in Semple Stadium in the name of health and safety, I wonder what standards have we? To the best of my knowledge, there have been no fatalities caused by hurling at half-time, yet there are and will continue to be fatalities on roads due to trees.

I love trees but I do not understand why huge trees are allowed to overhang roads. It is time for a re-appraisal. There should be maximum size guidelines for trees near roadways and a certain distance maintained between roads and growing trees. I regret to say that two very tragic deaths occurred on the main road near my house in Kerry involving trees. In one case, a tree fell on a passing car.

Sacrificing a few replaceable trees along our roadways to save lives is a small price to pay. We cannot replace a life.

Sean Kelly, MEP
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz


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