Co. Kerry Homeowner Awaits Action on Forestry Regulations
A homeowner in Co. Kerry has expressed his frustration over the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) failure to enforce forestry regulations. Pat O’Sullivan, who resides with his wife and son in Knocktaggle, Kilcummin, revealed that forestry was planted just 30m away from his home in 2015, despite legislation stipulating a setback distance of 60m from neighboring houses. O’Sullivan is concerned that in the event of a fire, his home could be completely destroyed, putting his family’s lives at risk. Additionally, he claims that the close proximity of the forestry obstructs light in his home and causes damage as sap and debris from the trees are blown onto his property.
O’Sullivan has taken extensive measures to address the issue, stating that he has spent a significant amount of money sending letters to DAFM over the past seven years, demanding action. Although department officials inspected the site and issued several replanting orders, it appears that no action was taken by the forestry owner, and the trees remained in place. O’Sullivan expressed his frustration, describing the past few years as “heartbreaking” and “exhausting.” He added, “It’s actually appalling that this could be allowed to go on for this long.”
The matter was brought to the attention of Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, by independent Kerry TD, Michael Healy-Rae. Healy-Rae, who has been raising awareness about the issue for several years, asked the minister about the measures that would be taken to address the concerns of the O’Sullivan family.
In response, Minister McConalogue acknowledged that the case involves non-compliance with replanting orders previously issued by the department to a licensee on lands adjacent to Mr. O’Sullivan’s home. He noted that there are various issues at play and revealed that the site in question had recently been re-inspected. A revised replanting order will be issued to the licensee in the coming days to encourage compliance. McConalogue emphasized that non-compliance with replanting orders is an offense and may result in legal proceedings by the department. He assured that DAFM would be in contact with Pat O’Sullivan directly to discuss the case and related matters.
O’Sullivan expressed his hope that action would be taken promptly. He stated, “I hope now that this comes to a conclusion and there is something done, not in the long term but I hope in the very short term that there would be something done. I’d like to see the owner cooperating with the department and not be dragging this out and putting it on the long finger. It’s something that should be taken on board immediately.” O’Sullivan’s desired resolution includes the removal of all trees within 60m of his home, including the roots, and the implementation of a fire break.
This case highlights the importance of enforcing forestry regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of homeowners. It is crucial for government departments to respond promptly and take appropriate action when non-compliance is identified. The O’Sullivan family’s concerns should not be ignored or prolonged, as their lives and property are at stake. It is hoped that this situation will serve as a catalyst for improved regulation enforcement and proactive measures to prevent similar issues in the future.