North West councils battling against Japanese Knotweed

County councils in the North West are battling against the spread of a Japanese plant that’s taking over gardens and damaging walls, pathways and even roads.

It’s Japanese Knotweed and was introduced to Ireland as an ornamental plant in the 19th Century.

It has since become become a major problem and has even been discussed at local authority meetings, the most recent being at this week’s meeting of Leitrim County Council.

It’s literally a growing problem.

To some people it’s an attractive shrub.

To others, it’s a quickly-spreading, stubborn, invasive weed that causes untold damage.

It’s a problem for county councils and even the national transport authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

At this week’s meeting of Leitrim County Council, Fine Gael Councillor Finola Armstrong McGuire had a motion down asking what is planned nationally for the treatment and eradication of Japanese Knotweed.

Councillors were told that Leitrim County Council, in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, will be engaging a contractor in March this year to survey all national and regional roads in the county for the presence of Japanese Knotweed.

It is expected this contractor will also treat the plants over a four-year period to eradicate it along roads.

The presence of Japanese Knotweed is also a issue in Sligo.

A council spokesman told Ocean FM that the TII had a programme for treatment along all national roads in the county.

In Sligo, that programme started in the second half of last year.

But as Cllr Armstrong-McGuire explains, it’s a weed that’s not easy to get rid of.