Importance of Leitrim’s forestry sector highlighted at a recent forestry value chain tour
Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, recently toured Co. Leitrim to highlight the important role that the forestry industry chain plays to the local and regional economy.
He placed special emphasis on the fact that all elements of the industry chain are present in Co. Leitrim and provide long-term, sustainable employment to the county.
“Forest management companies such as Veon, haulage operators such as McMorrow Haulage, Crowe’s Sawmill and Masonite Ireland, play a large and important role as employers in Co. Leitrim,” he said.
“Furthermore, the importance of the sector is growing, with the forest estate becoming ever more productive over the coming decades.
“This proves that forestry has been a good choice for farmers for many years and those who already own forests in Co. Leitrim are supporting a large, vital industry chain in the local economy.”
Veon is Ireland’s leading forest management company – with offices nationwide – and has unrivalled experience in commercial forest management and reforestation.
Based in Dowra, McMorrow Haulage transports in excess of 3,000t of timber per week. It also provides a vital link in the value chain between farm foresters and timber processors.
With 30 employees, the company has the latest fleet management and GPS tracking technology to ensure security and efficiency.
Veon works closely with McMorrow Haulage. The company’s fleet is unique, as it has variable tyre pressure (VTP) equipment fitted. This equipment distributes weight and reduces the risk of road damage when transporting heavy logs on small roads from Veon’s client forests.
This technology is already well proven internationally and its introduction to McMorrow’s fleet is a clear demonstration of how the forest industry is working with local and national government to efficiently mobilise timber and ensure a reliable supply of this vital raw material.
Crawford Brothers, based in Coolegreane, Dowra, Co. Leitrim, specialises in crop establishment and forest maintenance for Veon and a wide variety of other forest companies.
Its services include: fencing; tree planting; fertilising; and vegetation control. A team of up to 10 people is employed in the delivery of these services.
The works carried out by Crawford Brothers are hugely important and the jobs created by such maintenance companies provide vital local employment opportunities for people looking to enter this growing sector.
Established in 1907, this third-generation wood-processing business takes in timber from across the island, including locally-produced spruce as well as other timber sourced from further afield.
A speciality of this business is to use high-quality Irish Larch and Douglas Fir to create high-value products. Such products include timber cladding, which is used in housing across Ireland.
Crowe’s Sawmills manufactures and supplies a wide variety of bespoke timber products from post and rail fencing to garden gates and timber barns. The company’s products are distributed nationwide and can be seen in a wide variety of outlets across the country – not to mention being seen in many home entrances and gardens.
The work of the company clearly demonstrates the value chain in forestry. This comes as trees are planted and managed locally by foresters; grown by farmers; harvested and hauled by a Leitrim-based contractor; and ultimately processed in Mohill to become a valuable end product, which is then sold and distributed.
Did you know that doors manufactured by Masonite Ireland in Carrick-on-Shannon, using locally-grown timber, are exported worldwide?
Located on a 31ha site, the company is an important local employer that contributes strongly to both the local and national economy; many of its 144 employees are part-time farmers from Co. Leitrim.
Masonite Ireland door skins store carbon from wood residues and wood chip for decades – and its raw material emanates from commercial Sitka Spruce managed plantations in Co. Leitrim.
As with all players in the forestry value chain, it’s not just about timber. To make its product ready for the market, Masonite Ireland also acquire paints and resins from Irish suppliers, including from Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim.
This is another example of how essential Leitrim’s forestry sector is to the local economy, as it is timber grown locally that generates further demand for other raw materials to enable Masonite Ireland to manufacture a high-value product that is exported worldwide.