TD warns of job losses in forestry sector

Fri, Dec 21, 2012, 00:00

Selling Coillte harvesting rights to private investors will result in more job losses in the semi-State forestry agency, United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett has claimed.

The Dún Laoghaire TD said 11,000 people were employed by the forestry service in Ireland and those numbers “will be further reduced when the Government sells off the trees to private interests which see them only as a cash crop that will make a quick buck”. He claimed they had “no interest in maintaining them as woodlands or developing the woodland industry to create jobs”.

The sale of Coillte forestry is part of the Government’s plan for State assets in accordance with its EU-IMF troika deal.

But Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the decision the Government made “is about selling the harvesting rights of trees. We are not selling the trees, woodlands or forests. However, if we want to generate income from the trees which grow in the forest, we have to sell them.”

Mr Boyd Barrett said Switzerland, a country half Ireland’s size, employed 100,000 people in forestry. He called on the Tánaiste to keep the trees in public ownership, “to generate the jobs that could put our people back to work, instead of selling them off to asset-strippers”.