Cork county mayor Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan and Clonakilty mayor Michael O’Neill have jointly launched an ambitious plan to plant a huge amount of trees around Clonakilty with the guidance of tree expert István Márkuly. They are appealing for people to come to an information evening on November 12 at 8.30pm at Fernhill House in Clonakilty.
Mayor Christopher O’Sullivan explains the motivation behind the project. “Clonakilty in Irish is Cloich na Coillte or the stone in the woods. Like much of Ireland Clonakilty was blanketed in trees but sadly we have lost many of them. We want to put the Coillte back in Cloich na Coillte and plant as many trees as possible in 2020. For years we have been hearing about a ‘2020 vision’. Well 2020 is here now so let’s to do something amazing for future generations.
“Trees are amazing things and have so many benefits. They provide clean air, reduce carbon in the atmosphere, support wildlife, reduce flood risks and are beautiful to look at. There are so many places around Clonakilty where trees should be planted. We will plant them next year and it will make Clonakilty an even more special place and benefit our community for generations to come. We also want to create a template for other towns and inspire them so this could be a fantastic thing for West Cork and our environment.”
The new tree planting initiative will involve planting thousands of trees around Clonakilty on a mix of public land, business properties, green spaces of housing estates, sports clubs and private gardens. The focus will be on native trees with some fruiting, flowering and nut producing trees to support local wildlife. The trees will be planted around March.
At the meeting on November 12, the two mayors will outline their vision for the tree planting and look for feedback from attendees. People will also have an opportunity to suggest places for tree planting and to get involved.
Mayor Michael O’Neill further adds: “Both Christopher O’Sullivan and I are really looking forward to this. We have worked together for years as part of the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce on a variety of projects and were in college together. Environmentalism, nature and trees have always been close to our hearts. Christopher has been involved in community tree planting projects around Clonakilty before and has always lobbied to protect our environment in County Council matters. I have been a director of Sustainable Clonakilty for a number of years and have planted over 2,000 trees at my family’s hotel, Fernhill House. It is great that we are both mayors at the same time and are able to do a really exciting project like this. Hopefully we get a good backing from the community, as this could be something really special. Let’s do this and put the Coillte back in Cloich na Coillte!”
For more information see the facebook pages of Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan and mayor Michael O’Neill. You can also attend the free event on November 12 at 8.30 at Fernhill House.