‘Constant appealing’ of forestry licences causing ‘chaos’ for sector

The “constant appealing” of forestry licences being issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is causing “serious difficulties” for the sector, it has been stated.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Thursday, May 21, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, shed some light on the long-running issue in response to questions from independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Michael Fitzmaurice.

“We have difficulties in the area with respect of licensing. There have been a series of legal cases – both domestically and in European courts – that have in fact forced us to reconstruct our legal licensing process.

I’m satisfied that we are making progress with the backlog – but, it is not helped by the constant appealing of licences that we are issuing.

“We are making efforts to try and expedite the manner in which people are entitled to appeal because it’s affecting licences for felling, for forestry roads, for planting, etc,” the minister said.

‘Chaos’

Highlighting the impact on the ground, Fitzmaurice warned that the backlog is causing “serious problems” for businesses, adding that “a massive amount of jobs are at risk”.

“Fine Gael is talking to the Green Party at the moment who want trees nearly everywhere; while the farmers of this country are being kicked up and down the road.

“The forestry sector is at crisis point. There is chaos in the department minister; I’m not blaming you – but you need to take the reins in now.

“We are losing jobs, we are losing exports out of this country and the timber merchants are in serious trouble,” Fitzmaurice said.

Under the Climate Action Plan the Government says it is committed to increasing afforestation rates beyond existing levels and up to 8,000ha/year. Its aim is to reach a forestry land cover target of 18% by 2050.

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