Environmentalists protesting against a proposed road-widening scheme in County Wicklow step up their campaign to prevent its construction.

The green activists or ‘eco-warriors’ have set up camp in the Glen of the Downs in County Wicklow and are living in and under the trees in a bid to protect the woodlands from the road builders.

The European Union supported development requires Wicklow County Council to cut down approximately 1,700 mature beech, oak and ash trees which stand along the route of the proposed widening of the N11 primary road between Kilmacanogue and Kilpedder. The environmentalists fear many native oaks will be lost forever.

Experienced activists from Scotland and England have joined their Irish counterparts and are now taking direct action with an occupation of the condemned woodlands, some of them choosing to live in the trees.

Local resident Deirdre Power does not think the protesters will succeed in halting the proposed development.

They can tie themselves in the trees, and they’ll be taken down, but they’re not going to stop it.

Environmentalist Gavin Harte believes the area is worth fighting for and stresses the direct action being taken by the protesters is non-violent. 

We are building platforms in the trees, we are going to make it as difficult for the Council and the authorities to remove us from here, but we’re not going to cause any trouble.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 22 September 1997. The reporter is Damien Tiernan.