‘It’s ludicrous that it’s allowed to get worse year after year’

Cork County Council are being urged to tackle the swell of ragwort that has enveloped two fields under the motorway flyover in Fermoy, on the grounds of both health and safety and the aesthetics of the area.

The issue was raised by a concerned local who expressed his exasperation that the council, who own the land, have not attempted to tackle the issue.

A field under the  motorway covered in ragwort in Fermoy.
A field under the motorway covered in ragwort in Fermoy.

Speaking to The Avondhu, they commented: “It’s ludicrous that it’s allowed to get worse year after year. I wish something would be done to address it as it looks absolutely terrible and, what’s more, it’s very dangerous to animals. It’s in flower now and the seed heads are going to drift all over the country.

“It’s very dangerous to horses, especially ponies, how they survive I don’t know. It’s also dangerous for cattle; sheep can tolerate it to a degree and they eat it. But it’s a disgrace that’s it has gotten so bad. There are two fields down there, one is slightly better than the other. Landowners have a duty to keep their lands free from this sort of plant as well but this is council land and I’d hope something will be done immediately to address it.”

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust described ragwort, also know as Senecio Jacobea, as a ‘highly poisonous plant if eaten’ which contains toxic compounds. The Trust states: Horses are particularly susceptible to ragwort poisoning although other grazing animals, including cattle, deer, goats, pigs and chickens are also at risk. Pyrrolizdine alkaloids principally damage the liver, resulting in severe disease and in many cases death.”

The concerned local who has highlighted the issue added: “When I was growing up, every Garda station would have a notice up on their door with a list of species you couldn’t have on your land. They could then prosecute landowners, but it seems things have gotten much more lax in recent years. That seems to be a thing of the past.”