Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Jailed tree protest pensioner freed

Supporters of Teresa Treacy picketed ESB's Dublin offices after the 65-year-old was jailed

A defiant pensioner jailed for more than three weeks has vowed to continue her fight against two state-owned companies trying to erect electricity pylons on her land.

The High Court ordered the release of Teresa Treacy, who was sent to Dochas women's prison on September 13 for contempt of court for refusing to let ESB and Eirgrid fell thousands of her trees.

The firms applied to have the order committing the pensioner to prison discharged, despite her continued opposition to works.

The 65-year-old told the court she would not purge her contempt by complying with the court to allow workers to complete their work.

Outside Dublin's Four Court she said she was glad to be going home - on Tree Day 2011 - but would not back down.

The former businesswoman had planted a forest on her 150-acre site at Clonmore, three miles east of Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Michael Conlon, senior counsel, told the court up to 85% of the trees the ESB and Eirgrid needed to cut down had been felled, but that Ms Treacy's supporters had prevented further works on site.

He said the companies wanted some breathing space and an opportunity to try to engage further with Ms Treacy, her family and solicitors to resolve the matter.

Shane McEntee, who has responsibility for forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: "Trees are an integral part of our landscape and forest products are a feature of our everyday surroundings so it is helpful for children to have this opportunity on National Tree Day to learn about trees and forests in a practical way.

"When you plant a tree you don't do it for today. You do it for tomorrow - for your children and their children in turn."

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