Type of forestry carried out in Ireland not environmentally sustainable

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara has told the Dáil that farmers are being prevented from harvesting forestry they plant and there is no incentive to replace monoculture Sitka spruce plantations with something more sustainable.

Deputy McNamara was speaking during a Motion presented to the Dáil by Deputy Jackie Cahill, Cathaoirleach of the Joint committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Clare TD told Minister of State for Forestry, Senator Pippa Hackett, that the type of forestry being carried out in Ireland is not environmentally sustainable.

He said, “There is no sense of urgency, and farmers are seeing no urgency, with regard to their applications to plant trees or to cut the forestry they have planted, perhaps to replace it with something more environmentally sustainable.”

Deputy McNamara continued, “I hope we are about to see a change because all the talk in the world about afforestation in Glasgow – one can fly anywhere in the world and produce grandiloquent statements – is completely worthless unless it is backed up by what farmers are experiencing on the ground. We need action now as we are nearly half-way through the lifetime of this Government and we need it soon.”

“I ask the Minister of State to move outside her comfort zone. Stop talking to the converted and talk to farmers, ordinary people and landowners. They are the ones who are the future of afforestation in Ireland if there is going to be one. Above all, the Minister of State needs to back up the talk with actions, which have been singularly missing up to now,” he stated.