Enviro – 13th March 2017

The Peace Forest Ireland Project was launched in Derry/Londonderry in May 2014, when the first tree a Wicklow Oak was planted in St. Columba’s Park, and since then pilot tree plantings have taken place in all the border counties.

The Enviro program from the 13th of March was a celebration of trees and John told the story of the Peace Forest Ireland Project. Last week 3,000 peace trees (of a total of 4,000 for 2017 were planted in memory of those who lost their lives in the Northern Ireland conflict). The plantings last week coincided with National Tree Week. MARCH 6. On this day the first 1000 trees (of a total planting of 4,000) were planted at the old Fork hill Barracks Forkhill following a reception to launch the project at 11.30am. These trees were sponsored by the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland. Old Forkhill is a former British military installation that is in the process of being converted and landscaped for community use.

The organisers of this tree planting event are Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Enquiries: Darren Rice E – darren.rice@nmandd.org| T – 028 308 28592 | M – 07713 089225 Landscape Partnership Manager. Thursday March 9th and Friday March 10th ‘Rebel Hill’ Castle Lake Forest Demesne, Bailieborough, Cavan Co. Cavan, Ireland.

The Peace Forest Ireland Project is designed to strengthen the Northern Ireland Peace process and the principles based on the Good Friday Agreement.


John Haughton and Joe Dunne discussed two other topics. Firstly the Heritage Bill, Section 8 of which would allow the burning of upland vegetation in March and the cutting of hedgerows including August. Both of these will be detrimental to wildlife, for example, curlews in upland areas and the yellow-hammer who nest well into August. Bees and other pollinators would be seriously affected as well as reduction in food sources for a whole range of species. The Heritage Bill resulted in protests by a number of environmental organisations and bee keepers outside the Dáil. Over 26,000 people signed a petition objecting to the proposals.

The program also discussed an article which appeared in the Irish Independent of the 13 th of March which reported that large numbers of wildlife occupying the Dublin Zoo had died recently. Endangered species were among 109 zoo deaths in two years 2014-2016.

The Enviro program included environmental songs by John Spillane from his CDs: ‘The Wells of the World’; ‘Will We be Brilliant of What?’; ‘Hey Dreamer’; and ‘Nomos’, a joint CD with, John Spillane, Niall Vallely, Vince Milne, Gerry McKee, and Frank Torpey. These songs written and composed by John Spillane were praised by John for their understanding of the principles and understandings upon which the ethos of the Enviro program is based.


Presenter: John Haughton

Panellist: Joe Dunne