The Office of Public Works (OPW) has cut down over 40 mature trees in Dublin's Phoenix Park after concerns about safety and disease were raised by independent tree experts.
Worried visitors to the park have noted increasing numbers of trees being felled, and it is understood further trees, which pose a danger due to disease and overmaturity, will be cut down over the coming weeks.
According to an OPW spokeswoman, "Over 40 trees have been cut in a continuing programme currently being operated by the OPW.
"The majority of the trees in the park are overmature and losses due to disease, old age and storms have been replaced
by a tree-planting programme over
the last two decades.
"There are various species being looked at, and so the type of disease varies and that is what we are looking into at the moment."
The last time the park faced any issue of disease or old age was in the 1980s when Dutch elm disease destroyed 2,000 trees.
The trees felled are from a broad range of species including sycamore, ash, beech, hawthorn, lime and a very small quantity of oak.
"The evergreen plantation inside the Parkgate Street entrance to the Phoenix Park is currently being restored. This involves the removal of a few evergreen oaks which are dangerous. The remainder of the trees removed were seedling sycamore and Leyland cypress," the spokeswoman said.
The OPW said that, as part of the ongoing programme of tree care and regeneration of parkland trees and woodlands, it will plant over 100 species, especially oak, this year to counterbalance the felling.
"The felling of trees is undertaken only when absolutely necessary and when trees pose a serious risk to park users and in order to meet our statutory obligations under health and safety legislation and due care to park users."
The trees chosen for removal have been surveyed by independent tree experts which in turn are vetted by the OPW's own tree experts before felling is permitted.
The park has also lost a huge amount of woodland to storms over the past 100 years. The OPW is bringing in new varieties to counterbalance this.
Over 100 disease-tolerant elms are understood to be planned for the Phoenix Park.