Protesters defend Offaly woman’s trees

SHE may be in Mountjoy, but Teresa Treacy’s protest over her beloved trees continues. In a message to supporters on Facebook, Teresa asked people to go in on her land and protect her trees. She also said she would like if people went in and planted new trees on it.

SHE may be in Mountjoy, but Teresa Treacy’s protest over her beloved trees continues. In a message to supporters on Facebook, Teresa asked people to go in on her land and protect her trees. She also said she would like if people went in and planted new trees on it.

She thanked all her supporters and said she ‘couldn’t do it on my own’. She said she had no intention of purging her contempt of court. Workers from Eirgrid arrived on the property yesterday (Tuesday) to begin the removal of the trees.

However, protesters attempted to block their work by standing in front of diggers.

Tullamore man Cormac Lally said people had come from as far afield as Dublin as well as locally to support Teresa by protecting her trees.

“Where are the men of Ireland? that a woman of her age can be put in jail by one of the greediest corporations?”

He said protesters included Teresa’s friends and neighbours and other landowners who had objected to the route of the power line.

“When I heard what was going on I had to come down and help them,” said Mr Lally.

He said that the replanting of trees would begin this morning (Wednesday) on Teresa’s land by her friends.

Gardai were unable to remove protesters from the site, as it was on private property, Eirgrid would have to apply for an arrest warrant from the High Court.

A spokesperson for the ESB said that work had commenced on Tuesday morning but they would have to see how far they would get. “We will not put anyone at risk,” said the spokesperson.

They said the action was regrettable, but the line is now 95% built and Ms Treacy is now the crucial landowner at this stage. They said while there had been objections from other landowners to the route, when planning a route they had to cater for the collective, rather than individuals or nothing would ever get done.

“We are no happy at all with what’s happened,” they said, adding this has been going on since 2007, when planning permission was granted. They said they had no other option but to go through the courts.

They said the work was being carried out in agreement with the court order and Ms Treacy’s family.

Support for Teresa has been growing since she chose to do time in Mountjoy, rather than let Eirgrid in on her land to lay their new line, on Tuesday September 13.

Ms Treacy was found in contempt of court when she defied a previous court order, telling her she must allow the workers onto her land to complete the work, after they were granted planning permission to do so.

The 65 year old stood in front of her gates earlier this month when workers attempted to cut the lock off it.

Despite the fact that the ESB and Eirgrid had offered to plant new trees for any they cut down on her property, she still would not allow them to enter her property to complete the power line.

Mr Justice Daniel Herbert said while he admired her principles, he didn’t admire what she was doing and that he was sorry but he had no other option than to send her to prison.

Planning permission was granted for the works in 2008 and saw over 80 land owners allow the companies access to their lands.

Once complete, the new lines will improve supply to the town of Tullamore.

Two previous court orders were granted to the ESB allowing them access to her land.

A candlelit vigil was held outside Mountjoy prison for Teresa on Friday evening last.