We see this rally as pro-Galway City Council and pro-city. We simply want our local authority to activate its existing but dormant policies to provide outdoor leisure facilities for all ages, an annual programme of family events in all our main urban parks and the preservation of our increasingly threatened wildlife habitats. We need more plantings not less to transform barren ugly urbanscapes into picturesque leafy suburbs and tree-lined boulevards. Our wonderful natural heritage areas along the Corrib and in places such as Castlegar, Dyke road, Merlin, Menlo and Ballindooley require improved protection from built development if they are to serve for instance as outdoor classrooms for our school children. Just a few years ago the people of Galway were encouraged in their thousands to come out and plant trees to ‘green’ our city. Sadly what we now hear from the corridors of power is a bitter diatribe from one of our public representatives that he is sick of trees all across the city and even more proposals from officialdom to construct more roads through our scarce urban woodlands.
These words and actions should concern us all. Though many councillors and TDs have confirmed their support for our demands, nevertheless, we must maintain the pressure until a decision is reached on the Road and when we see the council's ecological policies being finally implemented. So we need to remind our politicians that over 10,000 people signed our petition a few months ago to demand an end to a new road through the Terryland Forest while requesting instead the implementation of existing council proposals that include the provision of a forestry learning centre, tree nurseries and an arts amphitheatre as well as the reinstatement of community tree ‘Plantathons’ in an effort to encourage people to regularly use our parks, reduce our carbon footprint and beautify our concrete-based city. Cutting down trees will not reduce anti-social behaviour, clean up our environment nor help solve our traffic crisis. But what could help are park wardens, a litter policy that includes a refundable charge on all drink cans and bottles and a city-wide pedestrian, cycling and public transport infrastructure.People lined up in their thousands at our stand in Shop Street to sign the petition to save Terryland Forest Park from road developmentBut we still have a fight on our hands. Last Sunday , City Council held a public ecological nature walk through the Forest as part of Irish Mobility Week (looking at alternatives to car transport). The Parks Staff did a great job informing the participants on biodiversity, individual native Irish trees etc. But there was only 17 on the walk, most from the committee of the Friends of the Forest. For the Council made no mention of the event in the media or in any of the ample literature that was specifically published for Mobility Week!!!