The sale of harvesting rights in Coillte will not proceed as Bord na Mona and Coillte are set to merge. That was the main news from the Department of Agriculture this afternoon.
According to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, the Cabinet decision was made on the basis of an analysis undertaken by NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Agriculture Department.
“This analysis was quite extensive as it not only involved financial calculations associated with the sale process but also the possible impact on the timber industry, public access to recreational land, environmental and social impacts and consequential implications for the company. As I have said, on numerous occasions, the Government will continue to proceed carefully with the finalisation of any decision on this matter as we are determined to realise commercial potential but also to protect the public value that Coillte offers by maintaining public access to its forests and supporting the broader timber industry,” he said in a statement.
The annual delivery of a material financial dividend to the State be prioritised as part of the restructuring of Coillte, the statement added.
Plans are also under way to merge Coillte with Bord na Mona within the next 18 months. An analysis is set to be carried out to examine the streamlining the bio-energy and forestry sectors.