Concerns over clearfelling at Mote Park.
Roscommon Municipal District councillors are to write to Coillte bosses expressing their concern “at the manner” in which Coillte recently clearfelled 11 acres of public forest at Mote Park.
At their recent monthly meeting, members supported Cllr Orla Leyden’s proposal to express their reservations in a written letter to Coillte CEO, Imelda Hurley and the company’s Managing Director, Mark Carlin.
The letter, read out at the meeting, will request that a detailed plan be prepared for the current and future sustainable management of Mote Park forest. The councillors said this plan must take into account the landscape and recreation values of the park and the ongoing investment in the area. “We request that Coillte consider the input and suggestions of all relevant stakeholders in the formulation of this plan,” said the letter.
The letter to the state-owned commercial forestry business, which owns the amenity, will also make clear that Mote Park forest is a hugely important recreation area serving Roscommon town and surrounding areas. “It is of significant importance from a historical and landscape perspective as an old demesne landscape. Significant funding under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme has been approved for developments at Mote Park Forest and this must be considered by Coillte in relation to their activities in the area.”
When proposing that the correspondence be sent to Coillte, Cllr Leyden spoke of how Mote Park Conservation Group and the local authority had worked so hard to develop what she described as “such a valuable recreational amenity”. “Unfortunately, Coillte is not listening,” she said.
In January, Mote Park Conservation Group were critical of the decision to clearfell a section of wood on Mote Park hill. The group also alleged that Coillte had become “increasingly difficult” to engage with and further alleged that since 2018, felling licence applications had been submitted without “open and transparent two-way consultation taking place”.
Responding to those criticisms in January, a Coillte spokesperson said that it consulted widely on its forest management plans, “making them publicly available on its website and facilitates open days for the public and interested groups to meet with its forest management team.
“Coillte has a long and welcome working relationship with local interest groups at Mote Park sharing its forest management plans closely with them and welcomes the opportunity to engage further with them on the management of this very important local forest amenity.”
As part of the felling licence process, the spokesperson said that all felling plans by Coillte are made publicly available on the website of the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and there are opportunities for the public to make submissions to the plans as part of this process.