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Doyle queries Government's forestry cuts

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
October 12 2010
Publisher Name: 
The Independent
October 12 2010
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Continued investment in forestry is a "no brainer" at a time when the Government is looking for money for limited financial resources, Fine Gael has insisted.

The sector returns €1.59 for every €1 invested, according to the Department of Agriculture's own studies, said FG's agriculture spokesman, Andrew Doyle.

He warned that Government plans to cut forestry targets jeopardised a valuable industry that had a key role to play in the country's economy.

Mr Doyle pointed out that the forestry sector employed more than 12,246 people, was a primary source of supply to the construction industry and other sectors, and had a role to play in greenhouse gas mitigation and biomass and biofuel production.

"However, these benefits are in jeopardy if the Government's proposed capital investment programme cuts the original plan to invest in 10,000ha of planting per year back to 2,000ha because of scarce resources," he warned.

Mr Doyle added that importing wood would be more costly, while putting foresters on the dole would cost millions. "Ireland will have to pay for greenhouse gas emissions instead of being able to offset them against the forestry sector," he said.

"Even the EU Agriculture Commissioner said that forestry could be part of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy."

Meanwhile, the Department's Sean Connick this week launched a Model Timber Sales System aimed at private timber growers.

Developed by the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA), with funding from the Department, the system will be used for tracking, accounting and security of timber sales from the forest to the sawmill or end user.

The system uses text messaging to notify forest owners when their timber is being collected and incorporates a docket system with a unique identification numbering scheme.

"In view of the increase in planting by the private sector in recent years, this model provides a useful template for plantation owners to track and account for their timber when this timber is being harvested and sold," said Mr Connick.

- Caitriona Murphy

Irish Independent


Extpub | by Dr. Radut