Belleek Woods needs to be sold or given to Mayo County Council, managed as a public park, and developed as part of a linear park and greenway network straddling both sides of the River Moy.
Why is this important?
This week the Government-owned forestry company, Coillte, has destroyed a large section of mature trees in Belleek Woods -- it follows a Coillte felling operation in 2014 that resulted in the death of nesting heron chicks.
The woods is too important to the people of Ballina, wildlife and tourism in the town for it to continue as commercial forestry -- commercial felling has gone on too long. It needs to stop now and Belleek Woods needs to be redesignated as a park.
Earlier this year Coillte sold Moorehall estate, south of Castlebar, to Mayo County Council. It was reported that the estate will be developed in collaboration with the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. A similar transfer from Coillte to the council is needed in Ballina.
Large scale tree felling needs to stop now. Mayo County Council needs to buy or be given Belleek Woods from Coillte as soon as possable.