Hackett appoints advisor on Mackinnon Report

Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett has announced the appointment of an advisor on the implementation of the MacKinnon Report into the forestry licencing system.

Jo O’Hara was formally a British forestry commissioner; the chief forester for Scotland; and the chief executive of Scottish Forestry. She now works as a private consultant.

Announcing the appointment today (Thursday, November 19), Minister Hackett said: “The MacKinnon Report was commissioned to review our processes and procedures and ensure that collectively we are fit for purpose to deliver the ambitious targets for the forestry sector in Ireland.

Its implementation is set out as a key forestry action in the Programme for Government, and I am delighted to have Jo O’Hara on board to advise on this process.

“I met with Jo recently, and was impressed with her enthusiasm for forestry and woodland creation. She understands the wide range of concerns here in Ireland in relation to forestry,” she added.

O’Hara has previously been involved in the implementation of a similar report in Scotland.

“We have set Jo an ambitious target of reporting back by end-February with her advice on actions for the successful delivery of the ways forward identified in ‘Mackinnon’,” Minister Hackett noted.

The implementation of this review will help to ensure that the licensing system can deliver on that future policy ambition, as well as assisting with the resolution of current issues.

She continued: “I would encourage all stakeholders to take the time to read the Mackinnon Report again as it contains a number of important recommendations on which we all need to reflect. I would also encourage any interested stakeholders to engage with Jo on her work.”

Commenting on her appointment herself, O’Hara said: “Sustainable forestry clearly has an important role in realising the huge potential of Ireland’s land to support a productive, low-carbon and nature-rich economy, and I am glad to be able to share my experience.

“I look forward to engaging with the stakeholders in Ireland to meet the minister’s ambitious target of advising on an implementation plan by end-February,” she added.