Locals are left in dark about council's removal of trees in south inner city
RESIDENTS and businesses in Dublin's south inner city are divided after large trees and shrubs were chopped down by Dublin City Council (DCC).
The bushes and trees on Exchange Street Lower were taken down last week, but both residents and businesses said they were unaware of the plans.
Local councillor Mannix Flynn said the work had removed privacy in the area, which is within 50 metres of DCC headquarters, and was "no way to treat a neighbourhood".
"The whole thing was completely butchered," he said.
"There were about 10 trees altogether and shrubbery all in a cluster," said Mr Flynn.
A railing separating the street and the residential area was also taken down - eliminating all privacy for residents, according to Mr Flynn.
"It's just kind of wild there now. There are now no boundaries separating the main street from the residential areas," he said.
Local resident Barry Roche told the Herald he fears he has now been left exposed to anti-social behaviour.
Mr Roche said he doesn't feel safe in his own home.
"There is a drug problem in the area and all the dealing goes on outside my door and, by taking away the railings, I've been left very vulnerable, because the railings protected me from them coming to the other side of the road," said Mr Roche.
However, some businesses in the area - Smock Alley Theatre and Abreu's Café - felt the bushes were used to hide drugs, and the openness of the area will eliminate the drug dealing.
Events manager at Smock Alley Theatre, Conor Byrne, said that a letter complaining of incidents from businesses was about to be sent to authorities.
"I sent a letter to local businesses around the area, asking if they would support me in putting in a letter to the Gardai and DCC, but I hadn't got around to it yet, and the council just got there before me," said Mr Byrne.
"There's a lot of shrubbery there where people were stashing drugs. It needed to be sorted out.
"I was a bit surprised that the trees were taken down, too - I didn't see a need for that - but unfortunately they did that and the trees are gone now," he added.
Abreu's Café manager, Juliane de Oliveira, told the Herald that drugs would regularly be hidden in the bushes and the anti-social behaviour drove customers away.
She said she hoped that by making the area more open and removing any bushes and trees, it will get rid of the drug problems.
"They would come in and spend money, but it wasn't worth it for us because - at the end of the day - they were sending the people that we really wanted here away from us," she said.
DCC were asked for a response to the decision to cut down the trees but were unavailable to comment before going to print.