INHFA to hold Leitrim meeting on forestry and environment

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) will host a meeting this Friday (February 22) in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, on the long-standing issue of forestry, as well as other issues.

Other items on the agenda will include: feeding Ireland; climate change; and water quality.

The event, entitled “National Information Meeting on Current Challenges and the Future of the Family Farm”, will be held in the Bush Hotel, kicking off at 8:00pm.

The meeting will feature a number of guest speakers, including TDs Eamon Ryan, Eamon O’Cuiv and Brid Smith; and members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Marian Harkin, Luke Flanagan and Matt Carthy.

According to the association, the guests will be asked their views on a number of issues, including the INHFA’s approach to tackling the issues on the agenda, and how the association can progress with those ideas.

Forestry

The issue of forestry remains contentious in Leitrim.

Last Friday (February 15), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine published the terms of reference for a study into the effects of afforestation in the county.

The study will examine a number of different criteria, including the social and economic impacts of afforestation, as well as its effects on farmer incomes.

The study came about largely as a result of a protest late last month, in which around 100 people from Leitrim and surrounding counties descended on the Dail to call for an end to the continued planting of Sitka spruce trees.

The protest was organised by the ‘Save Leitrim’ Group, with one organiser, Justin Warnock, saying: “We need a moratorium. In advance of this protest, the minister has called for this investigation into the effect of conifers in Leitrim.

“There’s no point calling for that unless you have a moratorium first of all on planting,” he added.