Tallaght Councillor Charlie O’Connor recently requested an update on grass cutting and tree maintenance programme “To ask the Chief Executive to confirm actions proposed to deal effectively with grass cutting/ tree maintenance programme which have been affected by the current restrictions”.
The Council reply detailed the following; “The restrictions imposed during the Covid 19 pandemic have resulted in a period of 4 months in 2020 and a further 4 months in 2021 to date during which no tree maintenance works were carried out by this Council. At the start of 2020 there was a backlog of areas to be dealt with from the previous programme of works for the period 2017 to 2019 and this was compounded by the downtime experienced during the first half of 2020. Every effort was made to address this matter when work did resume in the second half of last year. A commitment was given, using the substantially increased tree maintenance budget for 2021, that any areas included on the 2017 to ’19 programme of works and on the 2020 programme which were not completed would be prioritised and completed in 2021. While no work has occurred in the first 4 months of the year it is still expected that this can be achieved and that the programme of works intended for 2021 will also be completed, alongside the backlog from previous periods.
The grass cutting programme has not been affected by Covid 19 restrictions. A delay of a number of weeks occurred in starting the programme in 2020, however while it has been necessary to implement flexible arrangements with staff with regard to shifts and break times the grass cutting programme has continued as normal. The 2021 programme commenced in mid March and has been underway now for 5 to 6 weeks. The grass cutting programme sets targets of weekly grass cutting on playing pitches, reduced to fortnightly during the restrictions as playing pitches were not in use, and fortnightly cutting in other areas. Adherence to these frequencies is key to achieving an acceptable standard of grass cutting. Every effort will be made to ensure that these frequencies are achieved. The recruitment of seasonal staff in 2021 was provided for in the budget and these additional staff members are now being recruited and will assist in achieving a high standard of presentation of public realm areas around the county”.