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I was travelling last Wednesday when Hurricane Darwin swept in over the west coast.
I decided to sit out the storm in the Cosy Café, in Sixmilebridge, Co Clare. By 2pm on Wednesday, four of the five roads out of Sixmilebridge were closed. Trees had fallen on them.
Since then, I have been travelling the roads around Clare, and on every one there were trees, causing delays and endangering drivers.
I was amazed by the number of large trees on the boundary ditches. Councils have been making landowners fell these trees or prune them.
What is more surprising is the amount of ivy on the majority of these trees. Ivy makes trees more vulnerable in stormy weather.
The ivy can be easily removed.
When we count up the cost of the electricity and telephone disruption, not to mention the risk to the repair operatives sent out to fix them, it would seem to make good economic sense to minimise the disruption to such vital services.
By asking landowners to assess the condition and position of dangerous trees, we could alleviate future disruption and danger to life.
The distress caused, especially to the elderly, and the many others who depend on their electricity for medical and other serious reasons, could be greatly reduced by minimising the reasons for such electricity disruptions.
And with further storms likely in the future, we can do quite a lot to ensure that we are safer on our roads, and that we will not be as badly affected by dangerous trees bringing down power lines, etc.
While I acknowledge the part played by trees in taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, they are a danger to our road-users and so disruptive when they come down in storms, that I believe they need to be addressed.
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