Fianna Fáil opposes Coillte merger with Bord na Móna
Agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív calls for major tree-planting drive
Fianna Fail TD Éamon Ó Cuív and Sinn Féin president and TD Gerry Adams on the final day of the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois yesterday. Photograph: Barbara Lindberg.
A merger between Coillte and Bord na Móna would damage both organisations while not making significant savings, Fianna Fáil’s agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív said at the National Ploughing Championships yesterday.
The Government is exploring this merger option after a decision was made earlier this year not to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte forests.
Mr Ó Cuív said the organisations were “chalk and cheese” and companies should focus on what they were strong at. Coillte must focus on timber and ancillary land use whereas Bord na Móna must focus on turf. He was speaking as Fianna Fáil launched a discussion paper on the future of Coillte.
He said Coillte should be reformed and a major planting drive should be undertaken by the public and private sectors.
The Government should set a target to plant 20,000 hectares a year between now and 2020.
Alder and oak
New plantings should be a mix between commercial conifer and broadleaf trees with at least 50 per cent of new planting to be native Irish trees such as alder and oak trees.
Mr Ó Cuív said agriculture lands held by National Assets Management Agency should be considered for afforestation if the property was no longer commercially viable. “Nama should look at its book and we should look at transferring that land to Coillte and getting the state company to plant it,” he said