Donegal councillor queries road safety measures

Who is liable in accidents resulting from falling trees or broken branches?

Donegal councillor queries road safety measures

Cllr Patrick McGowan who raised the issue of liability n the case of accidents resulting from falling trees or broken branches

The question of liability in the case of accidents resulting from falling trees or broken branches along public roads was raised by Cllr Patrick McGowan at the recent meeting of the Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District.

He said he wanted to know who is liable and what responsibility had Donegal County Council in ensuring that roads are safe.

He was tolds in a written response to his motion that in  relation  to  trees  and  hedges the  owner  or  occupier  of  said  land  is  responsible for ensuring the trees or  hedges do not pose a hazard  to road users.

"The responsibility lies with the landowner or occupier  and Donegal County Council runs a public awareness  campaign to remind landowners and occupiers of their  responsibilities in this regard.

"Under the 1993 Roads Act 70 (2): (a) the owner or occupier  of land shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation on the land is not  a hazard or potential hazard to persons using a public  road and that it does not obstruct or interfere with the safe use of a public road or the maintenance of a public road.

"(b) Where a tree,shrub, hedge or other vegetation is a  hazard or potential hazard to persons using a public road  or where it obstructs or interferes with the safe use of a public road or with the maintenance of a public road, a  road authority may serve a notice in writing on the owner or occupier of the land on which such tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation is situated requiring the preservation,  felling, cutting, lopping, trimming or removal of such  tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation within the period stated in the notice."

He was also told that an owner or occupier who fails to comply with a notice under this section shall be guilty of an offence and in the  case  of  accidents  resulting  from fallen trees or branches liability will be determined by the courts on a case by case basis.

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